Airtel Africa Plc is expanding its fintech business. Earlier this morning, the company announced that it had just entered into partnership with Standard Chartered Bank.
Details of the partnership
The aim of the partnership is to enable the telecoms operator to deepen its financial inclusion drive across its key markets.
A corporate disclosure that was signed by the Company Secretary, Simon O’Hara, as seen by Nairametrics, noted that the partnership will enable Airtel to provide increased access to mobile money services to customers.
“Standard Chartered and Airtel Africa will work together to co-create new, innovative products aimed at enhancing the accessibility of financial services and, ultimately, better serve people across Africa. In line with this, Airtel Money’s customers will be able to make real-time online deposits and withdrawals from Standard Chartered bank accounts, receive international money transfers directly to their wallets, and access savings products amongst other services,” the statement by the company said.
New products for Airtel Money customers
The statement further noted the following:
- The partnership will enable Airtel to expand the range and debt if its fintech business arm –Airtel Money.
- New products and services will be launched at targeted primarily at Airtel’s 19 million customer base.
- The ultimate aim is to encourage the adoption of mobile money whilst engendering the financial inclusion goal of the CBN.
Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa Plc, Raghunath Mandava, commented on the partnership with Standard Chartered Bank saying:
“Our relationship with Standard Chartered boosts financial inclusion across the continent, giving millions of people access to valuable banking services. We continue to invest heavily in cashing in and cashing out locations for our customers and increase our distribution. This means that our customers can now send or receive digital payments via Standard Chartered Bank directly to their mobile phones, as well as cash-out their funds at our exclusive kiosks and branches at their convenience. This highlights Airtel Africa’s commitment to providing affordable, innovative, best-in-class solutions to enhance the daily lives of our customers.”
This is an interesting development…
A 2019 article by Nairametrics quoted research reports which estimated that about 73.2 million Nigerians (i.e., 41.6% of the adult population) are financially excluded. That’s a lot of people for a country like Nigeria. But the interesting thing is that consistent efforts are being made to collapse the gap.
This effort started off with the primary players in the Nigerian fintech space. Soon, banks caught the buzz and quickly aligned with the mission. Now, telcos like Airtel and if course MTN are also positioning themselves as major players.
Now, here’s the interesting thing about telcos’ foray into fintech – the fact that they already have the customer base and the technological advantage. These are competitive advantages that could see them replicating the same success that was first recorded in Africa by Kenyan Telco Safari on with its M-Pessa project.
As more players emerge in the Nigerian mobile money/fintech space, there is bound to be competition. However, the good thing is that the market is big enough for all to play. The important thing is about offering the best possible service to customers and ensuring that they are financially included.