The digital payments landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa is rapidly evolving, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer behaviours. As a leading payment technology company, Visa is at the forefront of securing this transformation. In this interview, Irene Auma, Head of Risk at Visa Sub-Saharan Africa, shares insights into Visa’s proactive approach to managing risks in the dynamic digital payments environment.

Auma discusses how Visa is leveraging cutting-edge technologies like AI and machine learning to monitor transactions in real time and detect suspicious activities. She highlights Visa’s robust risk management framework, which involves continuous monitoring of the payments landscape, regular risk assessments, and close collaboration with stakeholders across the ecosystem.

Additionally, Auma sheds light on Visa’s efforts to address the unique challenges of securing digital payments in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region characterized by diverse market complexities and varying levels of technological adoption. She emphasizes the importance of stakeholder engagement and industry collaboration, citing the recently concluded industry workshop in Nigeria as a prime example of Visa’s commitment to collective action in securing the payments ecosystem.

Through this interview, Auma provides a comprehensive overview of Visa’s multifaceted approach to securing the future of digital payments in Sub-Saharan Africa, underscoring the company’s dedication to ensuring the safety, security, and accessibility of digital transactions for all.

How is Visa securing the future of payments in the region, particularly considering rapid technological advancements and changing consumer behaviour?

The rapid advancements in technology and changing consumer behaviour have led to the emergence of new payment platforms and methods. While these developments offer increased convenience and speed, they also present new types of risks. To secure the future of payments, we are proactively leveraging technology to manage these risks. We use advanced technologies like AI and machine learning to monitor real-time transactions and detect suspicious activities. We also use encryption and tokenization to protect sensitive payment information.

Irene Auma, Head of Risk, Visa SSA

How is Visa positioned to proactively identify and manage risks in the ever-evolving digital payments landscape?

Visa has a robust risk management framework in place. We continuously monitor the payment landscape and conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential threats. We also collaborate closely with all stakeholders in the payment ecosystem, from financial institutions to merchants and consumers, to share information and tackle risks collectively.

Speaking of collaboration, could you tell us more about the recently concluded industry workshop in Nigeria that brought key stakeholders in risk and compliance together?

Of course, the industry workshop was a significant event. It was an opportunity for key stakeholders to come together and share thoughts, experiences, and ideas on how to secure payments in the region. The workshop facilitated open dialogue on current trends, challenges, and potential solutions in risk management. It also underscored the importance of collaboration in ensuring the safety and security of digital payments. The insights and learning from this workshop will undoubtedly help us further enhance our risk management strategies and secure the future of payments.

What are some of the unique challenges in securing digital payments in Sub-Saharan Africa and how is Visa addressing them?

One unique challenge in our region is the diversity and complexity of the market. We have advanced urban areas with high-tech adoption and remote rural areas with limited access to technology. This requires a comprehensive and tailored approach to securing digital payments. At Visa, we are committed to ensuring that our digital payment solutions are accessible, secure, and easy to use for everyone, regardless of their location or level of technological literacy.

How does Visa plan to continue its engagement with stakeholders to ensure the ongoing security of the payments ecosystem?

Engagement with stakeholders is a continuous process, and we consider it integral to our risk management strategy. We plan to conduct more industry workshops, training sessions, and forums that bring together key stakeholders. These platforms allow us to share knowledge, discuss emerging trends and threats, and collectively devise strategies to secure our payments ecosystem. It’s through this consistent engagement and collaboration that we can continue to ensure the security of digital payments.

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