Visa pledges $1B investment in Africa

International digital payments corporation Visa has pledged to invest $1 billion in Africa in the coming five years to advance resilient, innovative, and inclusive economies across the continent.

Visa Chairman and CEO Alfred F. Kelly, Jr. outlined the pledge during the US-Africa Business Forum, alongside the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, DC.  The pledge will further scale Visa’s operations in Africa, and deepen collaboration with strategic partners including governments, financial institutions, mobile network operators, FinTechs, and merchants.

“Visa has been investing in Africa for several decades to grow a truly local business, and today our commitment to the continent remains as firm and unwavering as ever,” Kelly stated at the event.

The investments will also focus on strengthening the payment ecosystem through new innovations and technologies, supporting the digitization of economies, and investing in upskilling, talent development, and capacity building.

Visa’s expanded investments demonstrate the company’s long-term commitment to Africa’s growth potential and will help enable greater access to digital payments as an entry point for expanding formal financial services for individuals and merchants, the company explained in a statement.

“Every day, Visa supports digital commerce and money movement in every country across the continent, and Africa remains central to Visa’s long-term growth plans. 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,” the CEO went on to say.

“Africa is experiencing an unprecedented digital acceleration, with a growing number of consumers, merchants, and businesses realizing the benefits of secure and convenient digital payments to fuel commerce and money movement,” said Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President, Visa Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Over the past year, Visa has continued growing our investment in Africa, through new offices, new innovations and solutions, and programs that are directly supporting financial inclusion. The investment pledge outlines our long-term commitment to Africa and the work we will do to help advance the financial ecosystem,” Diarra continued.

According to Visa, an estimated 500 million people in Africa are without access to formal financial services, less than 50% of the adult population made or received digital payments in Africa, and more than 40 million merchants do not accept digital payments.

“Expanding financial inclusion is critical to long-term economic prosperity, and we are proud to have worked with financial and public sector partners to launch new initiatives such as She’s Next,” said Leila Serhan, Senior Vice President, Visa North Africa Levant and Pakistan. “We look forward to continuing to support programs that advance inclusion and prosperity while introducing new innovations designed for consumers and businesses across Africa."