I was in Qatar for 4 days and I still can not get over all the beauty and excitement that this trip came with – to be honest, I won’t forget in a hurry! I had a picture of what my trip would be like, but in a beautiful turn of events, the reality superseded my expectations. I was in Qatar for the Visa Everywhere Initiative Global Finale and also had the pleasure of seeing 2 quarter-final matches in the ongoing FIFA World Cup – talk about a perfectly layered experience. I can’t keep all this excitement to myself so of course, here’s a rundown of everything I was up to in the beautiful city of Doha, Qatar.
I got to the airport at 10:30 AM for a 3:40 PM flight – how else would you know I’m Nigerian if I’m not at the airport hours before time? 😅 We landed at the Hammad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, at exactly 00:15 AM on the 7th of December and I was in love from the very first minute. I met with Niyi from the Visa team and he was super helpful in helping me settle in.
I checked in at my hotel at about 1:30 AM and I couldn’t help but make some videos. The Mondrian Hotel, Doha Qatar was an absolute haven. I also found some time to step out much later in the day.
A Brief City Tour
What good is travelling if you don’t see the city a little? Well, here’s how my adventure went.
Visa Everywhere Initiative Global Finale D-day
It’s D-day for the Visa Everywhere Initiative Global Finale and here’s how I showed up.
In case you were wondering, The Visa Everywhere Initiative is an innovation program and competition for start-ups and fintech companies across the globe. With a total price of 170,000 USD to be won, 5 regional winners share their pitch to clinch the ultimate winning price of 100,000 USD.
The Cause and The Why
Watch how Ayo Arikawe, co-founder of Nigerian startup, ThriveAgric and CEMEA region winner/global finalist feels about the Visa Everywhere Initiative Global Finale.
Williams Otto, Senior Vice President, Head of Product, Partnerships, and Digital Solutions CEMEA Visa also gave us insight into the reason behind this initiative and why Visa is supporting startups in Africa.
…And so it begins!
Thrive Agric is helping farmers to feed the world. Here’s how co-founder, Ayo Arikawe delivers his pitch to the judges and all present.
A chat break before the winner is announced… With Qatar currently hosting the world cup, I totally love how the game of football was smoothly infused in this event.
We had the Governor of the Central Bank of Qatar share some interesting insight into the economy and how Visa is contributing to smooth payments and transactions.
Time to announce the winners…
Talk About Naija Excellence!
And the global winner for the Visa Everywhere Initiative Global finale is… Ayo Arikawe of ThriveAgric! Super proud to be Nigerian. Ayo also won the 20,000 USD price for the Visa Direct category for shaping the future of money movement in Africa – totalling his win to 120,000 US Dollars. Cheers to Nigerian excellence!
Here is what it feels like to be a global winner!
My FIFA World Cup Experience
On my third day in Qatar, I had the sweet privilege of seeing two Quater-final matches in the Ongoing FIFA World Cup. For the Brazil VS Croatia match, I had a backstage tour and then I got to enjoy the Argentina VS Netherlands match from the skybox view. It was absolutely beautiful!
I also got a pretty souvenir at the skybox after the Argentina VS Netherlands match!
Let’s take a moment to appreciate how Visa is making payments seamless during this tournament with the Visa Gift Cards. Being the official payment partner for the Fifa World Cup was definitely a great call.
It was my last day in Qatar, but I decided to take one more stop before bowing out of the beautiful city! Before then, here’s a short recap of my stay:
I visited the Qatar National Museum where I learnt quite a lot about the history, archaeology and modern development of the Qatari Nation. The visual presentations of these exhibitions were simply perfect.
On a lighter note, here’s excited I was to be visiting Qatar:
Osas, Signing Out
My trip to Qatar can be described in many beautiful words but I’ll settle for one and call it amazing! In four days, I learnt new things about Qatar, met new people and even made one or two new friends. One of my favourite “people” stories will be chatting with Reuben who was enthusiastic about Afrobeats on the bus to the VEI global finale venue. So, I happily put him on to some beautiful Afrobeats music and the gospel of our Nigerian Jollof rice. I later found that he is the Senior Vice President and global head of Visa Direct.
Beyond the thrills and excitement, it was truly inspiring to see young founders making a difference in the world with stellar innovations and even more beautiful that there are bodies like Visa, contributing largely to this and helping these innovations come to life.
Until I come your way again, keep on keeping on.