Visa is expanding its footprint in the African continent with a new base in the Ivory Coast for serving the underbanked population in the region, the company announced.
The operation, which is set to be launched out of a new office in the francophone country, will engage with the key stakeholders in the region, including consumers, financial institutions, the government and merchants, to provide for more than 2 billion people who have little to no access to financial services.
“Our presence in Côte d’Ivoire reflects the growing importance of the UEMOA (West African Economic and Monetary Union) region, which represents 40 percent of the collective GDP of the Economy of West African States,” said Tarek Elhousseiny, general manager of North and Francophone Africa at Visa.
Visa’s move into the African continent comes as the francophone markets migrate from a cash-based model to a digital banking infrastructure, and so far, it seems to be receiving a warm embrace in the region.
“This is indeed great news. It will help Côte d’Ivoire in its endeavors to promote electronic payments in the country and drive financial inclusion to the benefit of the overall economy,” said H.E. Koné Adama, Ivory Coast’s minister of finance.
The expansion in West Africa is part of Visa’s undertaking with the World Bank Group to achieve universal financial access and provide electronic payment accounts to 500 million underserved people by the end of 2020.
“The decision to have a permanent presence in Côte d’Ivoire will enable Visa to better serve its partner banks and focus efforts on projects that would help accelerate financial inclusion in Francophone West Africa,” said Ismahill Diaby, West Africa manager at Visa.
“We have collaborated with 47 governments to provide more than 5,000 products and solutions to help financial inclusion efforts globally. These products and services enable governments to reach more people and enhance the quality of services offered to them,” Diaby added.