Airtel Africa

Airtel Africa to create new finance products with Standard Chartered

17 August 2020 | Melanie Mingas

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Airtel Africa has partnered with Standard Chartered to increase access to mobile financial services.

The strategic collaboration will focus on bringing “co-created, innovative” new products to key markets, starting with banking transfers for customers in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

As such, 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.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered’s corporate clients will be able to make rapid and secure bulk disbursements, such as payroll payments, directly into the Airtel Money customer’s wallet. In a statement, the two said this “reduces the risks associated with travelling long distances for cash payments and instead customers can go to any Airtel Money agent, kiosk, or branch to cash-out their funds”.

Raghunath Mandava (pictured), CEO, Airtel Africa, said: “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 latest partnership builds on the earlier success of Airtel Money, which in the last full financial year was credited as a major driver of the company’s 11.2% revenue growth.

Speaking at the time, Mandava said: “These results demonstrate the strength and resilience of our business and the effectiveness of our strategy – with all three business services, voice, data and mobile money, contributing to revenue growth. We have also continued to invest in future growth opportunities.”

Airtel Money represented 9% of the group’s gross revenues, but the concept of mobile money in Africa has been an established revenue driver since the early 2010s. In August 2019, analysts at Goldman Sachs predicted a 9% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) for the total revenue for Airtel Africa between that financial year and 2024, composed of a CAGR of 18% in data usage and 30% in mobile money.

Further, the data and mobile money segments were expected to contribute 52% and 37% of total subscribers, respectively, in FY24 from 30% and 15% in FY19.

Commenting on the latest partnership, Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Africa and Middle East Standard Chartered said: “By collaborating with innovative organisations like Airtel Africa, we are accelerating our mobile and digital-led strategy to provide best in class financial services to Africa.

“Over the past year, Standard Chartered has rapidly launched digital banks across nine countries on the continent, allowing our customers to enjoy seamless services from the safety of their homes even during the peak of the pandemic,” he added.

Following the launch of mobile banking transfers between Airtel and Standard Chartered customers, other products will be rolled out later this year, subject to regulatory approvals.