Visa, a global payments technology company, has announced that it has opened its regional headquarters for the Western and Central Africa region in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.
Visa staff will work with local governments, financial institutions and merchants to bring the benefits of electronic payments, and introduce new payments technologies such as mVisa to more people in Cote D’Ivoire and the wider Western and Central Africa cluster. mVisa is also going to be launched in lagos, Nigeria later this year.
While Visa’s network, VisaNet, and associated products are already available across the region, this is the first time that Visa has invested in a full time presence and expertize on the ground; and it is the first global payments network to do so.
Visa is investing in placing resources in market in order to make its global payments expertize available to the region’s governments, financial institutions and merchants.
This is critically important to pave the way for the introduction of new technologies such as mVisa, a QR code-based mobile payment solution designed to accelerate electronic payments in emerging markets.
The deployment of people, technology and expertise will also help Visa accelerate its 2015 commitment to the World Bank to include more people in the formal financial system, helping to build globally connected and sustainable economic growth.
Commenting on Visa’s investment, Mrs Kaba Nialé, Minister of Planning and Development of Cote D’Ivoire, said: “We welcome the opening of Visa’s regional office in Abidjan. We will be pleased to work in partnership with Visa in the development of electronic payments and the acceleration of financial inclusion in Cote d'Ivoire. These topics are priorities for our country and it’s Development Plan Program.”
Mr Adama Koné, minister of Finance and Economy of Cote D’Ivoire, said, “The opening of a Visa office in Abidjan is a positive signal to Cote D'Ivoire and the region as a whole. We have common challenges, such as the financial inclusion and modernization of our economies. Having a physical presence in the region of a player such as Visa should contributes greatly to addressing these issues. We will work with Visa in this direction.”
Ismahill Diaby, Visa’s country manager for the region, says, “By investing in a physical presence in Cote D’Ivoire, we are working to fulfill Visa’s brand promise to be the best way to pay and be paid, for everyone, everywhere. We are looking forward to bringing payments experience from wider Africa, and indeed globally, to accelerate the digitization of commerce in Western and Central Africa, enabling more inclusion in the formal financial system.”
He continues, “We believe that access to a world class, global and secure payments network is essential for sustained economic growth. It supports retail sector growth, encourages travel and tourism, and enables us to invest in new technologies to support consumer inclusion. We are looking forward to working with all our partners to bring the benefits of globally connected commerce to this region.”
The new Abidjan office serves 18 Francophone and Portuguese speaking countries in West and Central Africa. It is the 5th regional office opened in Sub Saharan Africa after other regional offices located in the Johannesburg, Nairobi, Rwanda and Lagos.
Its staff will be supported by Visa’s Sub-Saharan Africa hub in Johannesburg as well as Visa’s Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa hub in Dubai, drawing on experts in security, acceptance, mobile commerce, marketing and consulting, as well as Visa’s Innovation Center in Dubai.