Visa’s Innovation Studio in Nairobi set to Incubate the Next Generation of Commerce Experiences in Africa  

Published 1 year ago
Visa Innovation SSA 1 (1)
L-R Corine Mbiaketcha, Vice President and General Manager, East Africa; DR. Patrick Njoroge, Governor, Central Bank of Kenya; Andrew Torre, Regional President, CEMEA, Visa; Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, Visa and Otto Williams, Senior Vice President, Head of Digital Partnerships & Solutions, CEMEA Visa, at the launch of Visa’s Innovation Studio for Sub-Saharan Africa in Nairobi on Wednesday.

Over the last decade, Visa has had  a strong focus in collaborating with key players across the payments landscape to enable access to digital payments. Visa has also continued to partner with leading players in Sub-Saharan Africa including fintechs, neo banks and wallets to enable new payment experiences across the region.  

Throughout the challenges of the last two years, the importance of the right innovations at the right time has never been clearer. Today’s opening of Visa’s Innovation Studio in Nairobi, Kenya, marks the continuation of Visa’s effort to empower fintechs, clients and partners develop the right innovations for them now and in the coming decades.  

L-R Akshay Chopra, Vice President, Head of Innovation and Product Design, CEMEA, Visa; Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, Visa; DR. Patrick Njoroge, Governor, Central Bank of Kenya; Corine Mbiaketcha, Vice President and General Manager, East Africa and Andrew Torre, Regional President, CEMEA Visa, at the launch of Visa’s Innovation Studio for Sub-Saharan Africa in Nairobi on Wednesday. 

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The Innovation Studio will  also help Visa to accelerate the co-creation process and fast track the market readiness of innovation payment solutions.  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 popular functions 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 the blockchain, IoT, VR and biometrics. 

Visa started with only a couple of innovation centres. One of the first was in San Francisco. Now, there are six innovation centres around the Visa network and it really shows the power of this model. Each centre has highly specialized teams of designers, developers, product managers and technical experts who are building the future of payments with our partners. 

”Sub-Saharan Africa is home to a thriving community of start-ups, incubators and accelerators. The Innovation Studio in Nairobi is a realization of our vision to be an engine of commerce and to provide individuals, businesses and economies access to the financial services they need to thrive,” says Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa. 


L-R Otto Williams, SVP, Head of Digital Partnerships & Solutions, CEMEA, Visa; Nana Abban, Group Executive for Consumer Banking, Ecobank; Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Managing Director at M-Pesa Africa and Ag. Chief Financial Services Officer at Safaricom PLC and Kennedy Mubita – SC Ventures Lead (Africa & Middle East), Standard Chartered Bank, during a panel session at the launch of Visa’s Innovation Studio for Sub-Saharan Africa in Nairobi on Wednesday. 

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The Centre opened its doors on the 6th of April 2022 and has already welcomed clients and partners with a unique human-centric design based around the principles of shared knowledge to help Visa’s network of businesses overcome some of the biggest challenges while uncovering new commercial avenues of opportunity. 

To commemorate this historic millstone, Kenya’s Central Bank Governor attend the opening event and shared his excitement over the new SSA Innovation Studio. He spoke about his passion for innovation and the role of co-creation in developing solutions to suit the development of nations across Sub-Saharan Africa. The Governor also signed a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the innovation studio. 

For more information about SSA Innovation Studio, please connect with Olivia Etyang, Head of Innovation Studio, SSA.  

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