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Visa joins Obama’s doing business in Africa


Kamran Siddiqi

Kamran Siddiqi

Targets 500m mobile subscribers for e-payment
Visa Inc. said it has been admitted into Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, a pet project of the United States’ President, Barack Obama.

Already, the President for Visa in Sub-Saharan Africa, Andrew Torre, will represent his company on the council, which was established in 2014.

Codenamed President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA), the initiative seeks to strengthen commercial engagement between the United States and Africa, encouraging U.S. companies to trade with, and invest in, Africa.

The Group Executive for Visa Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA), Kamran Siddiqi, said: “Visa’s appointment to this prestigious council gives us the opportunity to represent our African clients and partners’ interests at the highest level of the U.S. government, acting as an intermediary between the U.S. and African business interests.

“Africa is incredibly important to us and we look forward to working with other members to support real and sustainable economic growth there.

“Visa has a long history in enabling and growing electronic commerce in Africa together with its government, merchant and financial institution partners. Between 2011 and 2016, 25 million African consumers received first-time access to a digital payment product via Visa”.

He said the company is also working closely with partners in both the financial services and mobile industries to increase access to financial services for consumers in Africa.

According to the GSMA, there are more than half a billion unique mobile subscribers in Africa, providing an opportunity to bring the benefits of electronic payments to more consumers in more places.

This is why Visa recently Visa introduced mVisa, a new mobile payment service that will accelerate digital commerce, in Kenya, and will roll out the service to other markets, including Nigeria, in the coming months.

The PAC-DBIA recently expanded from 15 to 23 members, comprising small, medium and large enterprises, with focus on investment and access to capital, trade and supply chain development, infrastructure, and marketing and outreach.

The council promotes efforts to enhance the ability of U.S. companies to compete for major projects with a dedicated U.S.-Africa Infrastructure Center, support for capacity building activities for African financial regulators, and exchanges through training programs, partnerships, and knowledge sharing.

It seeks to improve the perception of doing business in Africa, highlighting trade opportunities through an online Doing Business in Africa toolkit and targeted outreach events.

Siddiqi said the council has chosen to do business in Africa because the 23 Member Council of U.S companies is Chaired by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and makes policy recommendations to the U.S President on how to improve U.S.-Africa business channels.

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