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Visa Opens First Innovation Hub in Africa to Drive Product Development

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,” 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, Internet of Things, Virtual Reality and biometrics.

“As a brand built on technology, Visa has driven the major technology advancements that make electronic payments what they are today. 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,” Aida Diarra.

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

Visa has previously used its existing innovation hubs to design products for the African market, including a collaboration with Nigerian Fintech Paga to develop new merchant acceptance solutions involving QR codes and NFC technology.

Also fostered in Visa’s other innovation labs was a recent partnership with Kenya’s Safaricom allowing the telco’s 150,000 mobile money (M-Pesa) merchants to accept card payments.

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