Bernard Laurendeau, Aida Diarra, and Andrew Torre
Regional President for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa Andrew Torre emphasizes Visa’s commitment to expanding digital payments in Ethiopia by working closely with government, the financial ecosystem and SMBs
Addis Abeba – Visa has reinforced its commitment to expanding digital payments in Ethiopia by announcing two new initiatives to help advance fintech innovation and support women-led small and medium businesses (SMBs). During a visit by Regional President for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) Andrew Torre to Ethiopia, Visa unveiled plans to hold a second edition of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) fintech competition and launch its She’s Next women’s empowerment initiative.
Through VEI, Visa will invite fintech start-ups in Ethiopia to share innovations to solve payment challenges of tomorrow. In 2021, ArifPay, Ethiopia’s first point of sale payments systems operator won the first VEI Ethiopia challenge. Since 2015, VEI has helped start-ups from over 100 countries collectively raise more than $16 billion in funding.
Visa’s She’s Next program is a global advocacy program that supports women-owned small businesses through funding, training and mentorship. Since 2020, Visa has invested over $3 million through more than 250 grants and coaching for women owned businesses through the program.
Since establishing a presence in Addis Abeba in March 2020, Visa has been working across the the financial ecosystem to bring the benefits of digital commerce and money movement to consumers, merchants, financial institutions, and government partners. Ethiopia launched its Digital Transformation Strategy 2025 in 2020 with the aim to transform and drive a digital and financially inclusive economy, expected to contribute up to 39% percent of GDP by 2025.
Andrew Torre, Regional President of CEMEA at Visa said: “Visa is committed to helping strengthen the payments ecosystem in Ethiopia, and since 2020 has been working with partners to expand digital payments by building a truly local presence. We recognize the important role that fintechs and women-led small businesses can play in accelerating economic growth, and we are pleased to continue to offer global programs that provide them with the tools and resources necessary to thrive in the digital age.”
Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President & Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa said: “We are proud to bring Visa’s global programs to Ethiopia as we champion and strengthen the participation of start-ups in the digital economy and country overall. We have seen the success and impact of VEI and She’s Next in helping expand financial inclusion and look forward to working to provide consumers and merchants in Ethiopia with the best way to pay and be paid.”
Last week Visa also announced the launch of the new Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator program that will help enable Africa’s expanding start-up community through expertise, connections, and investment funding.