Visa, a leading digital payment company that accelerates payments between consumers, merchants, financial institutions, and government organizations in over 200 countries and territories, has inaugurated an Innovation Studio in Nairobi, Kenya. This facility will serve Sub-Saharan Africa and be part of Visa’s network of innovation centers, which have been operating since 2016 in London, Dubai, and Singapore. The Nairobi studio is Africa’s first and the world’s sixth.
Ideas for boosting the growth of new payment sectors like Tap to Phone and Pay on Delivery will be examined at the Innovation Studio, along with the continuous development of cutting-edge, more competent payment solutions that use blockchain, the Internet of Things, and Virtual Reality, and biometrics.
Visa’s commitment to supporting innovation and providing clients and fintech partners opportunities to co-create market-relevant payment and commerce solutions across the region is bolstered by the new location.
The studio will work with Visa clients and partners across Africa to help them increase their service offerings.
According to Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President and Head of Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa, the studio will help grow the Visa market in the area by providing digital and physical Visa cards to its customers.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is a rapidly growing region with a technologically savvy population. As we continue to expand digital payments adoption in the region, our goal is to deepen our collaboration with clients and partners to develop solutions tailored to Africa’s specific needs. As a brand built on technology, Visa has been at the forefront of major technological advancements that have made electronic payments what they are today. We are confident that the innovation studio will carry on that legacy and cement Sub-Saharan Africa’s position as a leader in developing unconventional solutions to our region’s most pressing challenges.”
Visa has utilized its current innovation centers to build products for the African market in the past, including cooperation with Nigerian fintech Paga to develop new merchant acceptance solutions based on QR codes and NFC technology. It also teamed up with Kenya’s M-Pesa to connect M-24 Pesa’s million customers and 173,000 local merchants to Visa’s 61 million merchants and over 3 billion cards.
Local and international firms and governments have opened innovation centers around Africa as a way to collaborate on innovative products and remain globally competitive.
In Kenya and Lagos, Microsoft has African Development Centers. Huawei also announced plans to create an innovation and research center in Tunisia in 2021.
Cisco and Philips host similar innovation studios in Nairobi, and in addition, the Kenyan government is creating a technology metropolis called Konza City to foster innovation.
The opening of Visa’s first African innovation studio and others will help strengthen the African digital ecosystem by encouraging the conception, development, and implementation of new ideas.
Visa formally launched the studio in an event attended by Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, top banks, financial technology firms, and innovation professionals from across Sub-Saharan Africa.