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Visa Establishes Regional HQto Support Nigeria, Other Markets

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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.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world.

So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Financial

Bitcoin Smashes Through $8,000 for the First time

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Bitcoin hit a new record high on Monday after smashing through the $8,000 level for the first time over the weekend, marking an almost 50 percent climb in just eight days.

The new high came after leading U.S. payments company Square Inc said late last week that it had started allowing select customers to buy and sell bitcoins on its Cash app.

Bitcoin traded as high as $8,197.81 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, up over 2 percent on the day and around 48 percent up since dipping to $5,555 on Nov. 12.

An eye-watering eightfold increase in the value of the volatile cryptocurrency since the start of the year has led to muliple warnings that the market is in a bubble, and institutional investors are broadly staying away.

Retail investors, however, as well as some hedge funds and family offices, are piling into the market. The “market cap” of all cryptocurrencies hit an all-time high of over $242 billion on Monday, according to trade website Coinmarketcap.

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ePayment Stakeholders’ Seek Review of Policy on PoS to Boost Growth

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Worried by slow pace of growth in the use of Point of Sale terminal (PoS) as a means of payment in the country, stakeholders have called on Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)to review its policy direction in that ecosystem.

 

This is coming as Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed fluctuations in the figure of registered and deployed terminals between August and October this year.

 

According to a report released by NIBSS the industry Payments Terminal Service Aggregator (PTSA), the number of deployed  terminals increased in August to 141, 531 and dropped to 140, 448 in September and increased again in October to 145, 350.

 

Also, same was noticed on the number of registered terminal with August recording 173, 815 and came down to 169, 318 in September while October witnessed increase to 176, 185.

 

Sarafadeen Fasasi, president, Association of Mobile Money Agents in Nigeria, attributed this slow growth to a number of factors which includes lack of support to drive the business.

 

“Support I mean is providing financial backing for transactions on the PoS just the way ATMs are loaded with cash for withdrawals. Today, there are no facility for PoS agency business by the banks which is the major determinant of success or failure of PoS innovation,” he said.

 

He decried lack of structure on ground to resolve issues arising from PoS transactions.

 

“If customer’s account is debited without ATM paying, the individual will go to the bank and fill form for reversal, but in PoS transactions there is no such thing which has pushed customers to resolve to holding on to PoS attendant to ensure that the issue is sorted out. As at today, all issues arising from ATM, switching, PoS, online among others, are under NIBSS which does not have the capacity to coup with these issues,” he said.

 

He however, urged CBN to review her policy on PoS for it to witness the desired growth, such review he said could come in creating a unit to address issues arising from PoS transactions.

 

“If the policy is reviewed it will build trust and confidence in the use of the platform for payment. More so, PoS fixed charge is high at .075, this means that customer is charged N750 on N100,000 transaction compared to N65 charged on withdrawal outside of customer’s bank ATM,” he added.

 

Onajite Regha, executive secretary/CEO, E-Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN)said: “So far, E-PPAN in its advocacy nature has taken steps ahead to break the barrier of this poor adoption. We are looking into capturing the lower part of the pyramid with the mobile payments awareness which will see more people included financially and thereby increase the adoption of the Cashless policy.”

 

“We are also open to discussions on advocacy and sensitization from financial bodies who have products and services to render in the pursuit of the success of this policy. From time to time we carry out sensitization, financial literacy and education programme and we partner with stakeholders to expose the benefits of electronic payments to consumers across the strata”.

 

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Africa FinTech Foundary set to Disrupt FinTech Ecosystem

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L-R: Victor Etuokwu, Executive Director, Personal Banking, Access Bank Plc; Averi Thomas-Moore, Company Builder, Venture Lab, ACCION and Victor Okigbo, Head, Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF) at a press conference to announce the maiden edition of ‘AFF Disrupt’ Conference 2017 in Lagos.

Africa FinTech Foundary, an Access bank accelerator which seeks to create new opportunities in sub-saharan Africa by providing a platform designed to inspire and challenge African innovators and entrepreneurs is set to launch with a conference on FinTech ecosystem.

The conference dubbed ‘AFF Disrupt’ is scheduled to hold on December 14, 2017 in Lagos.

Victor Etuokwu, executive director, Access bank, said that AFF will provide African companies seeking to launch their products, with capacity building and training in business development, provide connectivity to global innovation grids, promote access to capital, create opportunities for partnership as well as showcase best practices and successes in African-led innovation solution.

“Every FinTech seeks to disrupt the world through product or solution and AFF is here to disrupt. We want to do things that will drive the economy through innovative products and solutions. We are going to gather a team of investors that will help fund innovators that graduates from the accelerator programme of AFF,” he said.

Victor Okigbo, head, Africa FinTech Foundary (AFF), said that the Foundary has lined up activities preceding the main launch event which include master classes on entrepreneurship technology, enterprise design, collectively referred to as the AFF Innovation Tour, holding in four African cities this November.

He said AFF is in partnership with global technology giants such as IBM, Microsoft, Systemic Logic, Kantar TNS, SAS and Access bank as part of the AFF Disrupt programmes.

Adekele Adekoya, Event Coordinator for the AFF Disrupt conference, said that AFF seeks to create new opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa by providing a platform designed to inspire and challenge African Innovators and entrepreneurs.

“We want to engage with startups in all the locations we visit. This is a very good opportunity for startups to take advantage of the partner network created by AFF DISTRUPT and its partners to create linkages and networks that can help grow their businesses,” he said.

The vetting process is currently going on, and a total number of 12 starts-ups would be selected from a pool of about 400 start-ups, to demo at the AFF Disrupt 2017 conference holding in Lagos and also get to be part of the Africa FinTech Foundary’s 3-month accelerator programme.

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