World leading payments company Visa has opened a new Innovation Studio in Nairobi, Kenya. This facility will serve the sub-Saharan Africa region and joins a network of innovation centres operated by Visa since 2016, in cities including London, Dubai and Singapore. The Nairobi studio is the first in Africa and sixth globally.
The new facility supports Visa’s commitment to promoting innovation and creating opportunities for clients and fintech partners to co-create market-relevant payment and commerce solutions throughout the region.
Aida Diarra, Senior vice president and head of Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa, said the studio will assist in increasing the Visa market in the region by issuing digital and physical Visa cards to its clients.
Visa has previously used its existing innovation hubs to design products for the African market, including collaboration with Nigerian fintech Paga to develop new merchant acceptance solutions involving QR codes and NFC technology. It also partnered with Kenya’s M-Pesa to allow M-Pesa’s 24 million users and 173,000 local merchants to be linked to Visa’s 61 million merchants and its more than 3 billion cards.
Across Africa, local and multinational corporations, as well as governments, have been launching innovation centres as a means to develop new products through collaborations and to remain globally competitive.
There are Microsoft’s African Development Centres in Kenya and Lagos. In 2021, Huawei also announced its intention to build an innovation and research centre in Tunisia.
In Kenya, organisations such as Cisco and Philips also run similar innovation studios in Nairobi, while the Kenyan government is building a technology city, Konza City, to drive innovation in the country.
The launch of Visa’s first African innovation studio and others serves as a boost to the African tech ecosystem as it’ll encourage the creation, development, and implementation of novel ideas.