Visa hailed a partnership with digital financial technology company MFS Africa which will allow the payments giant to supply secure credentials to mobile money users across several markets in Africa.

In a statement, Visa said the deal significantly expanded its reach into the continent and enhanced its ability to “open up commerce in the region”.

As a result of the agreement, users of mobile money services provided by companies signed-up to MFS Africa’s hub will be able to generate a secure Visa virtual card number. This can then be used for commercial transactions and remittances.

MFS Africa’s payments hub connects 180 million mobile wallets on the continent. Its partners include the mobile money arms of Vodafone Group, Orange, Airtel Africa, Safaricom and MTN Group.

Visa EVP and chief product officer Jack Forestell said the partnership was important because “Africa is adopting a mobile-led, digital payments ecosystem and with Visa looking to accelerate the distribution of payment credentials and expand the acceptance space for digital payments.”

MFS Africa CEO Dare Okoudjou added the company would now work closely Visa, describing it as a “invaluable partner to support us in the next stage of our expansion”.