Visa has pledged to invest $1 billion in Africa over the next five years to accelerate the deployment of digital payments across the continent.
The US payments giant says it will scale its operations in Africa, and deepen collaboration with strategic partners including governments, financial institutions, mobile network operators, fintechs and merchants.
The investments will also focus on strengthening the payment ecosystem through new innovations and technologies, supporting digitisation of economies, and investing in upskilling, talent development and capacity building.
All of this will help, says Visa, boost financial inclusion on a continent where an estimated 500 million people still do not have access to formal financial services and less than 50% of adults have made or received a digital payment.
Specifically, Visa will set up its first dedicated Sub-Saharan Africa Innovation Studio, in Nairobi, Kenya, and establish local operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Sudan.
The firm will roll out its Tap to Phone technology which can turn a simple mobile phone into a payment device, and work to lower remittance costs through tools like Visa Direct. Meanwhile, programmes supporting women's empowerment will be pushed in several countries a will financial literacy work.
Al Kelly, CEO, Visa, says: "We look forward to continuing to work closely with our partners to advance the financial ecosystem, accelerate digitization and to build resilient, innovative, and inclusive economies that will create shared opportunity and further spur Africa’s digital economy."