Visa CEO visits Ethiopia and reaffirms commitment to supporting digital transformation

Ryan McInerney, Visa CEO, was received by the Ethiopian Prime Minister for discussions on Visa’s work.

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA 13 February 2024: Earlier last week, Visa’s CEO, Ryan McInerney, visited Ethiopia and met with H.E. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to reaffirm the company’s commitment to the digital evolution of the nation and the entire African continent.  This trip continues Visa’s efforts to foster and accelerate the development of digital economies within high growth, transforming countries.

During his visit, McInerney engaged in dialogues with H.E. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, outlining Visa’s commitment to supporting the country’s digitization efforts. The discussions were centered around the advancement of digital payments, fostering financial inclusion, and providing robust support for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), women, and the youth.

“Visa is committed to digitizing payments in Ethiopia and throughout Africa,” said Ryan McInerney. “We believe digital transformation can be a driver for economic growth and are committed to partnering with the Ethiopian government on its journey towards becoming a digital-first economy. Africa has enormous growth potential and we believe enabling access to digital payments can be a stepping-stone to formal financial services.”

Visa has launched several initiatives and programs to further enhance Ethiopia’s payments ecosystem, including:

  • Setting up local operations and presence in Ethiopia, one of 10 offices across Africa, to support and strengthen the local financial ecosystems.
  • Introducing and expanding innovative technologies that facilitate digital payments for consumers and merchants together with financial institutions and fintechs including the National Identification Board (NIDP), Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Bank of Abyssinian and Cooperative bank of Oromia. These partnerships include digital card issuance, tap-to-phone services enabling merchants to use their NFC-enabled smartphones as Point-of-Sale devices, and Visa Direct to enable fast, secure, and convenient money movement.
  • Launching programs to enable Ethiopia’s growing fintech ecosystem. In September, Kacha Digital Financial Service, Ethiopia’s first private payment instrument issuer, won the second Ethiopian edition of the 2023 Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global innovation program and competition for start-ups and fintech companies.
  • Empowering women-led SMEs through the introduction of She’s Next in Ethiopia, a women empowerment program that has already provided funding, mentoring, and networking opportunities to women entrepreneurs leading growing SMEs in countries including Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa.
  • Collaborating with partners to promote inclusive, equitable, and sustainable economic growth in Ethiopia. Visa’s partnership with STEMpower has already connected more than 1,100 individuals across Ethiopia, providing them with knowledge and skills to transform their ideas into practical solutions for their communities. Visa’s partnership with the National Identification Board (NIDP) and the Cooperative Bank of Oromia will create a mobile application in conjunction with the FAYDA ID Platform. This app will provide a digital ID and financial wallet which will enable every Ethiopian with digital ID to use Visa credentials to open social bank accounts.
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