Visa Foundation expects to commit more than $5 million to expand equitable access for women in Africa
Today Visa Foundation announced that it expects to contribute $5 million in grants and impact investments in Africa that will support women’s participation in the digital economy. The Foundation investments were made in connection with United States Vice President Kamala Harris’s trip to Africa and the creation of a new Women in the Digital Economy Fund and follows Visa’s recent pledge to invest $1 billion in Africa to advance resilient, innovative, and inclusive economies.
Visa Foundation’s support would focus on increasing access to financial solutions and other services for women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa, to drive equitable digital financial access as countries continue to digitize. The contributions will be allocated to programs that address the digital gender divide, and support women’s full participation in the 21st century economy.
“Expanding access to digital financial services lies at the core of Visa’s purpose, and our company and Visa Foundation are committed to helping address gender disparity and connecting more people to the global economy,” said Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President and Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa. “We welcome and are pleased to support important global initiatives, such as the Women in Digital Economy Fund, and we look forward to working with government, NGO and private sector partners to create equitable access for all.”
Today, an estimated 500 million people in Africa are without access to formal financial services, less than 50% of the adult population made or received digital payments in Africa, and more than 40 million merchants do not accept digital payments. Visa and Visa Foundation are dedicated to expanding financial inclusion by empowering small-business and women-led entrepreneurship in Africa through various programmes.
Since inception, Visa Foundation has committed over $200 million to 50+ countries across various initiatives. The Foundation’s support has also helped partner organizations reach over 2 million SMBs, globally. In Sub-Saharan Africa, notable grants and investments include:
- AfriLabs to support women led SMBs through a women’s accelerator program which will provide technical assistance and access to capital.
- Aruwa Capital to provide financing to women-led SMBs in Africa and provide the fundamentals for SMBs to grow and scale
- TLCom TIDE Africa Fund to continue investing in African companies that use technology as a lever to solve Africa’s societal challenges.
Visa has also introduced a series of initiatives to support women’s empowerment together with financial partners. These include a partnership with Vodacom in the DRC to empower women with disabilities, a collaboration with the Hand in Hand Kenya Micro-Enterprise Success Program, which supported 8,200 women entrepreneurs over three years, and She’s Next, which brings funding, mentoring and networking opportunities to female entrepreneurs leading growing SMBs in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa.