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Airtel shuns Nigeria, takes fintech deals to Ghana, Zimbabwe

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Despite the market size and growth of Nigeria’s financial technology services, Airtel Africa prefers Fintechs from Zimbabwe and Ghana to grow its mobile money business in Africa.

In a statement obtained by Ripples Nigeria on Wednesday, it was gathered that Airtel Africa is actively pushing its mobile money business through investment and partnership, as it plans to outdo its rivals in the telecoms market.

With over $300 million already raised through the shares for capital initiative, Airtel has been signing deals to put the funds in good use. Part of the capital is expected to go into leveraging the expertise of Fintech startups.

The deals already sealed, according to the company’s recently released financials, is with Mukuru, a Zimbabwe firm that helps facilitate payment transfer and Ghana’s Asante.

Although the worth of the deals were not disclosed, it was gathered that Airtel has been actively working with the startups since 2020 alongside international payment firms like MoneyGram and WorldRemit.

Also involved in the growth partnership is Samsung, Standard Chartered and Mastercard.

Commenting on some of the deals, Airtel said, “Through these partnerships, more than 21 million Airtel Money customers in 12 countries can transfer and receive funds across the globe directly from and into their mobile money wallets on their phone.

“Mobile money service alliances with these leading international money transfer or remittance service providers will extensively enhance customer access to the digital world.” the statement reads.

One of the countries Airtel mobile money conducts its business is Nigeria, but Nigerian Fintech startups are missing despite holding a sway over the African Fintech market.

READ ALSO: Airtel Nigeria pays NCC N72bn for operational license renewal

Since the boom in digital payment and transfer, network providers have been making a play for the nascent market, with MTN Nigeria also establishing MoMo, its own mobile money service.

MTN has been on the mobile money journey on it’s own without known collaboration or strategic deals with existing players in the market, while Airtel has signed partnership agreement to deepen its reach in the budding mobile money market.

The partnership seems to be working for Airtel Africa, which stated that, “Mobile money continues to be one of our fastest growing service segments, delivering revenue growth of 35.5% for the year.

“It is an increasingly important part of our business, delivering $51bn of annualised (Q4’21) transaction value and accounting for 10.6% of total revenue in Q4’21.”

MTN didn’t make its own mobile money revenue available, but it stated that, “The volume of transactions processed was over 24 million in the quarter (Q1), up more than four times YoY, from an active base of 4.6 million subscribers.”

Note that Airtel Africa’s revenue is total of its earnings across the company’s markets, while MTN’s processed figure is limited to Nigeria.

By Fakoyejo Ayodeji

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