Visa has announced the opening of applications for its first cohort of the Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator program. This initiative is aimed at supporting startups in the fintech and payment space across Africa. With a focus on fostering financial innovation, empowering entrepreneurs, and strengthening the continent’s payment ecosystem, this accelerator promises to provide unmatched resources, training, connections, technology, and potential investment opportunities.
The Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator program will span over 12 weeks, conducted twice a year, and will accommodate up to 20 startups per cohort. Aspiring startups at the Series A stage and below are encouraged to apply through the Visa website. The application window will remain open until August 25th, and the selected startups for the first cohort will be announced in September.
Visa’s commitment to invest $1 billion in Africa by 2027 underlines the accelerator’s broader goal of driving financial inclusivity and economic digitization in the region. By harnessing innovation and cutting-edge technologies, the program aims to enhance economies, upskill talent, and build capacity across the African fintech landscape.
Partnering with Plug and Play
Visa has chosen Plug and Play, the world’s leading innovation platform, as its program partner for the Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator. Throughout the 12-week program, Plug and Play will provide startups with valuable content, facilitate access to mentors, arrange one-on-one coaching sessions, and connect them with a global and regional network of investors. This collaboration will offer a conducive environment for startups to thrive and succeed in a competitive market.
Categories of Interest
The Visa Fintech Accelerator is on the lookout for disruptive startups operating and generating revenue within Africa. The program invites startups falling under the following five categories to apply:
- Unlocking Money Movement: This category aims to digitize various payment types (P2P, B2C, B2B, G2C) to create new commerce opportunities. It includes innovations such as cross-border remittances, funds disbursements, open banking, account-to-account solutions, mobile money flows, and interoperability.
- Embedded Finance: Startups in this category focus on creating advanced intelligence to enhance payment and finance experiences in B2C and B2B commerce models. This involves offering services like installments, flexible financing, consumer loyalty programs, and Fintech-as-a-Service.
- Empowering Merchants and SMEs: This category targets the growth of merchants and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) through digital payment solutions. The program seeks to foster financial inclusion by enabling next-generation omnichannel payments, digital onboarding, working capital optimization, and merchant value-add solutions.
- Payment Infrastructure Enablers: This category aims to build the foundational layers of payment infrastructure, including key enabling services such as authentication and fraud solutions, digital onboarding and identity management, credit scoring and risk management solutions, and data solutions and insights.
- The Future of Finance: Startups embracing emerging technologies like AI-powered payments, blockchain, enterprise DLT, and programmable money fall under this category. The goal is to revolutionize financial services and pave the way for the future of finance.
- Sustainable and Inclusive Finance: In this category, the focus is on enhancing payments technology to contribute to an eco-friendly economy, drive inclusiveness, reduce inequality, and create positive impacts through financial services for underserved or climate-vulnerable communities.
Words from Visa CEMEA’s Senior Vice President
Otto Williams, Senior Vice President, Head of Product, Partnerships, and Digital Solutions for Visa CEMEA, expressed his excitement about the program. He emphasized that the Visa Africa Fintech Accelerator would be a unique opportunity for Fintech startups to access invaluable resources, mentorship, and potential investment opportunities. Williams further reiterated Visa’s commitment to driving financial innovation and supporting Fintech ecosystems across Africa.
How to Apply
For African startups in the fintech and payment space seeking to be part of this transformative program, applications are now open on the Visa website. To learn more about the Visa Fintech Africa Accelerator and to apply, please visit the following page: africa.visa.com/visa-everywhere/innovation/visa-accelerator.html.