Visa Brings its VEI Fintech Competition Back to Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA – Visa announced its plan to hold the second edition of the Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) fintech competition in Ethiopia.

The US multinational financial services firm also launched its She’s Next women’s empowerment initiative to support women-led small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the country.

The announcement was made during a visit by Regional President for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) Andrew Torre to Ethiopia.

“We recognize the important role that fintechs and women-led small businesses can play in accelerating economic growth, and we are pleased to continue to offer global programs that provide them with the tools and resources necessary to thrive in the digital age,” Torre said.

Through VEI, Visa will invite fintech start-ups in Ethiopia to share innovations to solve payment challenges of tomorrow.

ArifPay, Ethiopia’s first point of sale payments systems operator, won the first VEI Ethiopia challenge in 2021.

Globally, the VEI has helped start-ups from over 100 countries collectively raise more than $16 billion in funding since 2015.

The new Visa’s She’s Next program is also a global advocacy program that supports women-owned small businesses through funding, training and mentorship.

In the past two years, the company says it invested over $3 million through more than 250 grants and coaching for women owned businesses through the program.

“Visa is committed to helping strengthen the payments ecosystem in Ethiopia,” he said, adding: “since 2020 has been working with partners to expand digital payments by building a truly local presence.”

Ethiopia launched its Digital Transformation Strategy 2025 in 2020 with the aim to transform and drive a digital and financially inclusive economy, expected to contribute up to 39% percent of GDP by 2025.