Airtel Africa, leading telecommunications service provider, and Finablr, a global platform for payments and foreign exchange solutions, have entered into an extensive global partnership that will see the two companies bringing together their complementary capabilities.
As an outcome of the arrangement, Airtel Africa mobile money operations will be integrated with Finablr’s technology platform and global network to facilitate seamless inward and outbound cross-border payments.
The arrangement will allow customers to leverage Finablr’s global network to send money from over 100 countries into Airtel Money mobile wallets across Africa, in a convenient, secure and cost-effective manner. Additionally, Airtel Africa will leverage Finablr’s technology capabilities to develop and deploy digital solutions, enabling African expatriates to settle payments into Airtel Money wallets in real time through the Airtel Money mobile app and the Airtel Africa online portal. The services are expected to be launched market-by-market in a phased manner, with the first country to go live by year-end. The launch will be supported by a comprehensive worldwide marketing programme to introduce the new services to African communities overseas and to receivers in Africa.
Through this partnership, Airtel Africa benefits from gaining access to Finablr’s global payments connectivity, technology platform and its omnichannel sourcing and distribution capabilities spanning 170 countries. For Finablr, the partnership with Airtel Africa will help accelerate its expansion across the continent with potential access to Airtel’s 100 million+ subscriber base. The partnership is viewed by both parties as long term with significant potential to grow. Following the launch, the partners will explore additional opportunities including intra-Africa payments and other value-added services.
Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, said, “We are excited that Airtel Money will collaborate with Finablr to introduce global payments services, enabling customers to make cross-border remittances, pay bills, make purchases and withdraw cash from our outlets and agents across the continent. This is another important example of how mobile technology will play a key role in changing the way people connect with their homes in Africa.”
Promoth Manghat, Group CEO of Finablr, commented, “We are delighted to partner with Airtel Africa, and join hands to deliver affordable and reliable payments services to customers. Together, building on the strength of our technology platform, we are delivering fintech at scale thereby empowering consumers and businesses across the continent.”
Inbound remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew nearly 10 percent to reach US$46 billion in 2018 as per World Bank estimates and, as the primary source of external financing in the region, is critical for its socio-economic development. With the average cost of 9.4 percent, Sub-Saharan Africa ranks amongst the most expensive remittance corridors globally. The partnership between Airtel Africa and Finablr will harness the true potential of mobile financial services by simplifying and streamlining remittances into the region. This reflects the shared commitment of the companies towards driving financial inclusion and supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals by reducing the cost of remittances.