The FINANCIAL — Visa Inc. announced the launch of the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute (VEEI), a center of excellence for research and public-private dialogue on payments policy, committed to promoting and advancing equitable economic empowerment of individuals, businesses and societies around the world.
The VEEI will develop new research and insights designed to inform long-term policy within the global payments ecosystem, and promote the value of digital payments and global networks to advance inclusion and drive economic growth. VEEI will serve as a forum for policymakers, regulators, non-governmental organizations and international organizations to convene and collaborate on policies to rebuild and grow the global economy.
“Visa’s unparalleled global network and perspective on economic trends will allow VEEI to develop novel insights on the payments ecosystem and provide actionable solutions for improving and enhancing communities,” said Al Kelly, chairman and CEO of Visa. “The creation of VEEI is our next step toward removing barriers and creating more accessible economic opportunities for everyone, everywhere.”
Dr. Barbara Kotschwar, a Georgetown University professor and former specialist at the World Bank, will serve as the VEEI’s Executive Director. She will lead a team of Fellows, who are subject matter experts in payments, central banking, development finance, international trade, cybersecurity and other key issues. The Fellows will leverage Visa’s vast information resources and technology capabilities to analyze problems and develop policy recommendations to bring real solutions to communities around the world. Bill Sheedy, senior advisor to Visa CEO Al Kelly, will chair the Institute.
“As our world becomes more complex and interconnected, it is paramount that we close gender, global development, ethnicity, and other inclusion gaps to achieve digital connectivity and access to global markets for all,” said Dr. Kotschwar. “The Institute will provide a platform for public and private actors to work together collectively to increase economic empowerment, trade and global connectivity.”
The Visa Economic Empowerment Institute will focus on three strategic pillars to further its mission:
- Fostering Digital Equity and Inclusion, which will address societal issues, inclusive economic growth, financial inclusion, and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) recovery and resilience.
- Unlocking Growth through Trade, which will address the factors that encourage greater digital and cross-border trade.
- Imagining an Open Future for Payments, which will address the future of money, societal and cross-border issues and innovations that are shaping the way people pay and are paid, and MSME recovery.
In connection with the launch, the VEEI released a set of foundational position papers, highlighting some of the key contextual challenges its pillars of research will focus on, including:
- Fostering Digital Equity and Inclusion: The pandemic has accelerated several years of digital transformation into months, reinforcing the importance of digital connectivity and highlighting systemic inequities around access and barriers to usage. For example, while 93% of the world’s population lives within physical reach of mobile broadband or internet connections, nearly half (3.6 billion people) do not use it.i
- Unlocking Growth Through Trade: Trade agreements have not kept pace with advances in technology and economic growth in the digital economy. With few firm commitments on digital trade, protectionism is on the rise, threatening MSME growth and their connections to the broader digital economy.
- Imagining an Open Future for Payments: Payment innovations are increasing and demand a new approach to cybersecurity protections and financial services on new payment platforms.