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Visa Opens First Innovation Hub in Africa to Drive Product Development

New Innovation Studio in Nairobi is the first in Sub-Saharan Africa and will provide Visa partners with cutting-edge capabilities to co-create future commerce solutions

Olivia Etyang, the Head of Innovation (Sub Saharan Africa) at Visa, demonstrates the different ways in which Visa’s payments technology enables payments on public transport to Dr. Patrick Njoroge, the Governor of Central Bank of Kenya, at the newly launched Visa Innovation Studio in Nairobi today. The Studio is the first of its kind in Sub Saharan Africa.

Digital payment provider, Visa has opened a new innovation studio in Nairobi, its first dedicated innovation site in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

The facility will serve the sub-Saharan Africa region and joins a network of innovation centers operated by Visa since 2016, in cities including Dubai, Singapore, and San Francisco.

“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, Senior Vice President & Head of Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa have been leading the way in introducing new methods of paying and being paid, by harnessing innovative technologies.

Ideas to expand the growth of emerging payment areas such as Tap to Phone and Pay on Delivery will be explored at the Innovation Studio alongside the ongoing development of cutting-edge smarter payment solutions that leverage blockchain, the Internet of Things, Virtual Reality, and biometrics.

“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,” said Diarra.

The studio will help Visa clients and partners from across the continent extend their service offerings.

Visa’s Innovation Centers have been instrumental in the conceptualization and implementation of new business ideas and platforms around the globe.

Several Sub-Saharan African companies have already leveraged Visa’s innovation center capabilities, these include 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.


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Experience working on communication and marketing departments and in the broadcast industry. Interested in sustainable development and international relations issues.

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