Technology

Sub Saharan Africa to witness boost in fintech entrepreneurship, payment innovation with Visa initiative

Visa’s global innovation program which is aimed at tasking start-ups to solve future commerce challenges and further enhance their own product propositions will help grow fintech entrepreneurship as it expands to Sub Saharan Africa (SSA).
The company recently announced that entrants in the first-ever Sub-Sahara Visa’s ‘Everywhere Initiative’ will have the opportunity to compete for a chance to win up to US$50,000, access to Visa’s products and services, expert mentorship and support from Visa and exposure to key Visa partners and clients.
“In a highly dynamic industry, Visa’s Everywhere Initiative allows us to explore a host of ideas that solve business challenges, influence our product roadmaps, support our customers, and shape our culture of innovation,” said Andrew Torre, Regional President for CEMEA for Visa.
With just 17 percent of people in Africa having access to formal financial services, almost a third of funding raised by African startups in 2017 was in the Fintech sector. Venture funding for African startups jumped by 51 percent to $195 million in 2017.
“With over a hundred million dollars invested over the past ten years alone1, the region’s Fintech industry is on the brink of a transformative breakthrough, and we believe the time is ripe to bring together its brightest minds and work on the next big idea in payments technology. With a clear goal of enabling cashless economies and financial inclusion, Visa is committed to fostering an entrepreneurial spirit and driving innovation in its payments landscape,” Geraldine Mitchley, Senior Director for Digital Solutions for Visa Sub Sahara Africa said.
Beginning March 23 2018, Visa invites eligible participants in the SSA region to submit their business solutions that apply to one of the following three briefs:
· How can your startup leverage Visa Developer APIs to either: Enable smaller merchants to accept payments in-store digitally OR Provide a safe and secure solution for online merchants to drive eCommerce and reduce cash on delivery?
· How can your company use Visa’s APIs to leverage mass reach partner platforms like Facebook to help businesses operating in fast-paced consumer centric environments improve cash flow and receive payments?
· How can your startup leverage technology to provide services that are functional for illiterate customers to provide them with secure transaction experiences that build and enhance their confidence in the banking system?
Each challenge has been structured keeping in mind the niche dynamics of the local landscape. As the region’s domestic merchants rapidly expand their digital commerce proposition, payment gateways must also evolve at a breakneck speed to offer their customers a hassle-free shopping experience.
Sub-Sahara Africa is a diverse region and home to products like MPesa in Kenya, Snapscan in South Africa and Paga in Nigeria. Payment solutions like Scan to Pay or Tap with mobile are fundamentally shifting the way people pay to provide more convenient yet ultimately secure ways to pay and be paid.
One winner per brief will be selected, and each will receive a US$25,000 monetary prize. Winners of the prize will be invited to a working meeting with Visa, and may be presented with the opportunity to create a prototype. Visa will then select one overall winner to receive an additional US$25,000.
Visa’s Everywhere Initiative is part of a global implementation that is strategically important to the global payments company’s goal of fostering the growth of next generation payment technologies

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