Bharti Airtel to launch mobile money in east Africa

India’s Bharti Airtel is planning to launch a mobile money service in east Africa.

The cross-border initiative across Africa is designed to enable Airtel customers to send, receive and withdraw money from Airtel Money facilities.

The operator plans to launch the service in November, and will initially roll out the initiative in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

It will then expand the roll-out to its other operating countries within the next year.

“This is a key milestone for Airtel Money customers, because a big virtual barrier has been removed and our customers will be able to transact with ease across national borders,” said Chidi Okpala, director and Airtel Money head. “The service will extend convenience by way of cost efficiency and reach while facilitating remittances and small trades within east Africa.”

As a pilot project, Bank of Africa customers in Kenya and Uganda will be able to send and receive money across the two countries.

Mobile money is seen as an essential service in Africa given the lack of bank accounts, and m-payment capabilities are beginning to launch worldwide.

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