Eva Ngigi Sarwari
COUNTRY MANAGER, VISA KENYA
Eva Ngigi is the Country Manager for Visa, an American payment service provider, a tour of duty that started in September 2020, deep inside the Covid-19 Pandemic. As Country Manager, Eva is the Senior Business Development Leader responsible for the development and implementation of growth strategy in Kenya, and is part of the larger Visa East Africa Leadership team.
Ms Sarwari is a financial services expert, having earlier in the day spent over 15 years in the banking industry, structuring working capital and payment solutions for large and medium sized corporates while occupying various levels of corner suites at various banking institutions in Kenya including SC ventures, Standard Charted Bank (SCB), CfC Stanbic, now Stanbic, and the Cooperative Bank of Kenya (Coop Bank). At SC Ventures, Eva was the Venture lead, rewiring the DNA in Banking, while at SCB , she was the head of transaction banking commercial banking, developing, executing and managing the Kenya and East Africa transaction banking strategy for commercial banking.
Eva led the Visa team in collaboration with Safaricom PLC, the leading Telco in East Africa, that was instrumental in the launch of the virtual Visa card. The Mary Leakey High School alumnus, loves to read, her all-time favourite book being Napoleon Hill’s Outwitting the Devil. Other reads include Fiction, Politics, Leading and Motivation. Eva is self-driven, knowledgeable, and dependable, with an outgoing personality who loves travelling with her family. She unwinds with Rock and Country music and works out to keep fit. Key part of the family is sports. Through sports, the family members learn resilience, accepting failure, leadership and team work.
Professionally, Eva sees technology from the lenses of as an enabler, delivering cutting edge value propositions to clients, to ensure seamless, effective and efficient operations. In addition, technology is a tool for driving financial inclusion throughout the social fabric of society and is enthusiastic as being one of the top executives at the forefront of this transformative agenda.
Her customer centric agenda has enabled Eva over the years to value client relationships and to use her time patiently in understanding needs specific to different businesses and endeavour to provide solutions that align to the visions and aspirations of the respective business entities. ‘I am proud to be playing a key role in most of the transformational solutions that improve the way clients run their operations.
Environment being one of the causes Ms Sarwari is passionate about, she states that, ‘I am living my purpose a day at a time. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children,’ a great quote by Anonymous. Other causes she is passionate about is the girl-child. ‘Enabling access to education is the key to independence. I teach my daughter that her gender is not a barrier and she should never settle on what life throws at her,’ she says.
Eva, a mother of two sons, is deliberate in how they are raising the boys. She once ran a soccer academy, not only to give her kids a safe space where they could learn the sport, they deeply love but also to get an opportunity to impact boys in the neighbourhood who loved soccer but had no access.
Eva’s mother was a school teacher for 38 years, managing to build a legacy in the school she taught. This rubbed positively on Ms Sarwari, who remains steadfast in helping many in her community access education by providing financial support and mentorships to disadvantaged students, considering education as the best gift an individual can get. She also helps her community access a house of worship, through numerous activities including offering financial support for development projects.
Ms Sarwari holds a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of Nairobi (UoN), a post-graduate diploma in digital business from EMERITUS, and a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing management from Moi University. She attended Oxford Fintech Programme at famous Said Business School, University of Oxford in 2019.
Eva is singularly committed to promoting access to digital payments for all in order to accelerate financial inclusion and eliminate digital inequity. Visa provides financial education to its merchants, remove barriers to entry, being a thought leader in these matters.