As it finds new sources of liquidity, Airtel Africa is aiming to strenghten its service in the continent’s mobile money space. To this end, it has liquidated several assets including the 4,500 telecoms towers it sold to Helios Towers in 2020.
“We are actively pursuing the sale of the remaining tower sites which are located in several of our countries of operation. The group is also in discussions with various potential investors regarding possible minority investments in Airtel Money”, Says the company’s Africa CEO, Raghunath Mandava, in the company’s 2020 financial result.
Those in the know reveal that both companies have reached an advanced stage in the negotiations. Both parties have also had discussions with a number of central banks. However, there is another twist to the ongoing deal. Whispers have it that another candidate, an American hedge fund company has indicated strong interest.
During the past year, Airtel Africa announced a partnership with MoneyGram International and Worldremit to allow 19 million customers to access transfers straight into their mobile wallets.
By way of the partnership with MoneyGram, funds received can also be used for utility bills, goods, and services, transfers to other individuals, or convert to cash at any of Airtel Africa’s branches, kiosks, and agents.
“We are delighted to work with MoneyGram to provide millions of customers with fast, secure and convenient options to receive and send money as well as access their funds from a vast distribution of exclusive kiosks, agents and branches at their convenience,” said Raghunath Mandava CEO of Airtel Africa.
“This is a significant step forward in our ambition to transform lives through greater financial inclusion and empowerment across the continent. Maximizing access to global remittances is a key part of this – even more so given the disruption and economic hardship faced by many because of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
John Gely, head of MoneyGram Africa, added: “This partnership with Airtel will enable millions of consumers instant access to our global platform to receive money from over 200 countries and territories without having to even step outside.
“We’re excited about how this customer-centric partnership with Airtel will expand our mobile wallet capabilities, build upon our strong momentum in Africa, and further accelerate our digital growth across the globe.”
This development is closely followed by a recent venture with Standard Chartered to develop “co-developed, innovative” new financial products for key markets. Airtel Africa’s further drive into the mobile money space has been outlined as an intention to tap into the region’s vastly underpenetrated mobile and banking services.