About 40 fintech startups across Africa will get the opportunity to scale their services every year, after participating in the Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator program set to kick off in July 2023.

The new initiative is a three-month intensive learning program focused on business growth and mentoring. On completion of the program, Visa says it intends to provide support for fintech growth with capital investment in select participating businesses while accelerating their commercial launch through access to the company’s technology and capabilities.

The accelerator program is part of Visa’s pledge to invest $1 billion in Africa’s digital transformation and its long-term commitment to advancing Africa’s economies and driving inclusive growth. Startups that intend to be part of the program can apply through two application phases each year, starting from July 2023. The company said over 1,000 African Fintech startups are taking part in the Visa Everywhere Initiative it started in 2015. The finalist from the competition will be invited to join the accelerator program.

Alfred F Kelly, Executive Chairman, Visa, Inc., said the company has been increasing its investments on the continent for decades while at the same strengthening partnerships to support the next wave of innovation and growth.

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“Our new Fintech Accelerator will bring expertise, connections, and investment to Africa’s best fintech start-ups so they can grow at scale,” Kelly said.

Visa sees the support it will provide the startups participating in the program, boosting the payment ecosystem by speeding up new innovations and technologies that provide solutions to challenges that are unique to the African continent, and which can further advance Africa’s digitisation.

Otto Williams, head of Partnerships, Products and Solutions, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, Visa, said the company places priority on the fintech community in Africa given they are at the forefront of payments innovation and connecting more of the unbanked population with access to the digital economy.

“Visa has been working with this innovative community to create new programs and solutions to help fintechs scale while giving access to Visa’s technology and partner ecosystem. Through the new Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator, we are looking forward to working with more brilliant entrepreneurs and companies to shape the future of money,” Williams said.

Visa has been on a roll in recent years, deepening its footprint on the continent. The company now has 10 offices across Africa from which it supports payments in all 54 countries. it also unveiled the first dedicated Visa Sub-Saharan African Innovation Studio in Nairobi, Kenya to provide a state-of-the-art environment and bring together clients and partners to co-create future-ready payment and commerce solutions. Visa has also introduced expanded new technologies that help African consumers and merchants make and receive digital payments, such as Tap to Phone to turn a simple mobile phone into a point-of-sale terminal, as well as lowering remittance costs through innovative solutions like Visa Direct.

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