Visa, a global leader in digital payments, announced the opening of a new Innovation Studio in Nairobi, Kenya, today. Its first dedicated innovation site in Sub-Saharan Africa is the studio (SSA).
This facility will service the Sub-Saharan Africa area, according to a news release, and will join Visa’s network of innovation centers, which have been operating since 2016, in locations such as Dubai, Singapore, and San Francisco.
The facility is intended to build on the success of Visa’s flagship innovation center in San Francisco, One Market, by giving Visa’s partners access to tools that will help them improve their capabilities in generating innovative solutions.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is a fast-growing region with a tech-savvy population. As we continue to grow digital payments adoption in the region, our aspiration is to deepen our collaboration with clients and partners in developing solutions that are designed around the unique needs of Africa,” said Aida Diarra, SVP & Head of Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are confident that the innovation studio will continue that legacy and cement Sub-Saharan Africa’s position as a leader in creating out-of-the-box solutions to deal with our most pressing challenges as a region,” added Diarra.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s Payments Revolution
According to Visa, businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa have been at the forefront of introducing new ways to pay and be paid by leveraging innovative technology. The Innovation Studio will look into ways to expand the growth of emerging payment areas like Tap to Phone and Pay on Delivery, as well as the continued development of cutting-edge smarter payment solutions that use blockchain, the Internet of Things, Virtual Reality, and biometrics.
The studio will work with Visa clients and partners all around Africa to expand its service offerings. The studio’s immersive environment will also equip customers and partners with tools to address some of their largest business difficulties while revealing new commercial avenues of potential, thanks to a human-centered approach.
Paga, which collaborated with Visa to co-create a platform that offers tools to small businesses, and Safaricom on a solution to enable 24 million M-PESA users to transact at Visa merchant locations and 150,000 M-PESA merchants to accept Visa card payments, are two companies from Sub-Saharan Africa that have already taken advantage of Visa’s innovation center capabilities.
At an event attended by leading banks, financial technology companies, and innovation specialists from across Sub-Saharan Africa, the studio was officially launched by Dr. Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya.