Airtel Africa moves ahead with plans to facilitate intra-Africa payments

A customer walks pass an Airtel store in Nigeria
  • Airtel Africa partners Finablr and Econbank to facilitate mobile money services across Africa.
  • The arrangement will allow its customers in Nigeria and the continent to leverage Finablr and Ecobank’s networks to implement financial transactions.
  • Mobile money service will increase access to financial services and create employment opportunities.

Airtel Africa and Finablr, a global platform for payments and foreign exchange solutions, have entered into an extensive global partnership that will see the two companies bringing together their complementary capabilities.

The telecoms firm also entered into a contract with Ecobank to offer Airtel customers online deposits and withdrawals, real-time domestic and international money transfers, in-store merchant payments, loans, and savings services, using the bank’s ecosystem.

Why partnership

According to Airtel Africa, the arrangement will allow its customers in Nigeria and the continent to leverage Finablr’s global network to send money from over 100 countries.

Promoth Manghat, Group CEO of Finablr, commented, “We are delighted to partner with Airtel Africa, and join hands to deliver affordable and reliable payments services to customers. Together, building on the strength of our technology platform, we are delivering fintech at scale thereby empowering consumers and businesses across the continent.

Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, said, “We are excited that Airtel Money will collaborate with Finablr to introduce global payments services, enabling customers to make cross-border remittances, pay bills, make purchases and withdraw cash from our outlets and agents across the continent. This is another important example of how mobile technology will play a key role in changing the way people connect with their homes in Africa.”

Telcos to increase financial inclusion in Nigeria

With the rapid growth of mobile money service in Kenya, Airtel and other mobile networks are working to radicalise payment service through technology in Nigeria. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had planned to reduce the unbanked population to 20% by next year.

The apex bank had already granted MTN super-agent money service. Globalcom and 9mobile are also reportedly working to launch their mobile-enabled payment service soon.

Mobile money will create jobs and increase foreign remittances

With the introduction of mobile money service across telecoms, access to financial services will be extended to rural communities and in turn, create employment opportunities. This will also improve foreign remittances into the country which are about $25 billion as of 2018, representing 6.1% of GDP, according to a PwC report.

Screenshot of Airtel’s market share in Nigeria

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