After recording increased revenue driven by the double-digit growth across its business products in Nigeria and East Africa, Airtel Africa is in the process of launching a mobile money service in Abuja. 

The telecommunication company’s CEO, Raghunath Mandava, revealed that they were working on securing confirmation of a brand name and obtaining a license for the mobile payment service.

“The business continues to show momentum, and we are confident of delivering sustained growth across voice, data and mobile money, underpinning our medium-term aspirations for revenue and profit growth,” Mandava said, adding that the company’s results are a clear indication of the reliability of its strategy. 

Airtel Africa, a subsidiary of India’s Bharti Airtel, is the continent’s second-largest telecommunications company (after South Africa’s MTN Group) with presence in 14 countries across East, Central and West Africa. The African unit recently went public in a dual listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

With plans to roll out mobile money service in Nigeria, Airtel would be joining major competitor MTN as mobile network firms with presence in Nigeria’s burgeoning financial technology (Fintech) space.

Last month, MTN Nigeria (a subsidiary of the South African group) received an all-clear signal to venture into digital financial services in Nigeria after securing an operating license from the country’s apex bank. Through its subsidiary, Yello Digital Financial Services Limited (YDFS), MTN was awarded a Super Agent Licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), CEO Ferdi Moolman disclosed.

“Through the network established by YDFS, MTN is in a position to broaden the availability of financial services for the under-served across the country,” Moolman said. “This marks a very important first step in leveraging our infrastructure to scale our Fintech initiatives.”

The entrance of major mobile network operators into the financial services sector supports the federal government’s goal of achieving 80 percent financial inclusion rate by 2020. Last year, CBN announced that it would allow telecom companies to provide banking services that are aimed at giving Nigerians without bank accounts access to mobile money services in order to bridge the financial gap.

Having the government’s backing would allow MTN and Airtel to offer financial services to their subscribers. Both companies run two of Nigeria’s biggest mobile phone networks, serving over 100 million people (65.26 million and 45.93 million respectively) as at May 2019. 

“We are very pleased that YDFS has been granted a Super-Agent Licence … This forms part of our commitment to contribute towards the achievement of Nigeria’s financial inclusion goals,” Moolman added.

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