Visa's Africa Fintech Accelerator Program
Visa, a global leader in digital payments, has officially opened applications for the second cohort of its Africa Fintech Accelerator program. The announcement, unveiled during Fintech Day in Morocco, highlights Visa's commitment to enhancing digital payments and financial inclusion across the continent.
Fintech Day Unveils Opportunities
During Fintech Day, a gathering of Morocco's fintech community, discussions revolved around opportunities to elevate the digital payments and financial inclusion landscape in the country. Visa took the opportunity to announce the opening of applications for its Africa Fintech Accelerator program, reinforcing its dedication to fostering innovation in the fintech sector.
Demo Day: Showcasing Innovations
As part of the program's progression, Visa will host its first demo day on February 13th in Nairobi. During this event, startups from the inaugural cohort will pitch their groundbreaking innovations to key players in the ecosystem, including funding partners, angel investors, and venture capitalists.
First-Cohort Success: Setting the Stage
The success of the first cohort, which featured startups operating in over 18 African countries, underscores the program's efficacy. Notably, 48% of the participating startups had a woman founder or a woman in a leadership role. This diversity reflects the inclusive nature of the program, contributing to a vibrant and varied fintech ecosystem.
Categories for Second Cohort Applications
Seed to Series A startups operating in Africa are invited to apply for the second cohort. The program focuses on the following categories:
1. Unlocking Money Movement: Digitizing various payment types to create new commerce opportunities, including cross-border remittances, funds disbursements, open banking, and account-to-account solutions.
2. Embedded Finance: Enhancing payment and finance experiences in B2C and B2B commerce models, including installments, flexible financing, consumer loyalty, and Fintech-as-a-Service.
3. Empowering Merchants and SMEs: Accelerating growth through digital payment solutions, emphasizing next-generation omnichannel payments, digital onboarding, working capital optimization, and merchant value-add solutions.
4. Payment Infrastructure Enablers: Building the base layer of payment infrastructure and enabling services such as authentication, fraud solutions, digital onboarding, identity management, credit scoring, risk management, and data solutions.
5. The Future of Finance: Embracing emerging technologies to revolutionize financial services, including AI-powered payments, blockchain, enterprise DLT, and programmable money.
6. Sustainable and Inclusive Finance: Enhancing payments technology to contribute to an eco-friendly economy, drive inclusiveness, reduce inequality, and create positive impact through financial services for underserved or climate-vulnerable communities.
Success Stories from the Inaugural Cohort
Ayoub Rqibi, COO, and co-founder of Paytic Connect, a platform assisting banks, credit unions, and fintech companies, shared his experience from the first cohort. He emphasized the comprehensive guidance, mentorship, and invaluable networking opportunities provided by the program, which enabled startups to clarify goals, refine business models, and accelerate progress.
Pledging $1 Billion Investment: Visa's Vision for Africa
Aligned with Visa's commitment to invest $1 billion in Africa by 2027, the accelerator program serves as a catalyst for transforming Africa's payment ecosystem and uplifting the digital economy. Leila Serhan, Senior Vice President, Group Country Manager for North Africa, Levant, and Pakistan, Visa, expressed the program's unique offering of mentorship, fast-tracked growth, and access to a network of partners and investors.
Visa's Africa Fintech Accelerator program continues to be a driving force in propelling Africa's fintech ecosystem forward, providing a platform for innovation, collaboration, and sustainable growth. Startups are encouraged to seize this opportunity to be part of the next cohort and contribute to the evolution of Africa's digital finance landscape.