Airtel Africa on Tuesday announced a partnership deal with Ecobank Group to expand its mobile money financial services to more customers in Africa.
Airtel operates in at least 14 countries in Africa, while Ecobank has presence in 33 countries in the continent.
In a regulatory announcement filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Airtel Africa said the partnership deal will allow millions of Airtel Money and Ecobank customers across Africa to improve their access to mobile financial services and carry out a variety of mobile transactions.
The telecom firm said the partnership was subject to regulatory approval in each market. The company is listed in both the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Through the Ecobank’s digital financial services ecosystem, Airtel Africa said its money customers would be able to make online deposits and withdrawals, effect real time domestic and international money transfers.
The new platform, Airtel said in the filing, will equally allow customers make in-store merchant payments and access loans and savings products, amongst other services.
Also, Airtel said the new partnership will allow Ecobank corporate account holders to make bulk disbursements, such as payroll payments directly into Airtel Money customer wallets.
With the arrangement, Ecobank will be able to sponsor Airtel Money to issue both virtual and physical debit and pre-paid cards to Airtel Money customers.
Chief Executive Officer for Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mandava, said the partnership is a further demonstration of Airtel Africa’s commitment to provide affordable, simple and innovative solutions for our consumers across Africa.
“We will continue to offer locally relevant M-Commerce solutions with partners like Ecobank in order to enhance the daily lives of our customers,” Mr Mandava said.
The Ecobank Group CEO, Ade Ayeyemi, said the bank believes that financial inclusion can ultimately contribute to economic development by collaborating with major telecommunications providers in Africa.
He identified the partnership as a key strategic driver towards closing the gap between the banked and the underbanked.
“This partnership with Airtel Africa will make Ecobank financial services available to any Airtel line registered on Airtel Money in markets where regulatory approvals are in place.
He said the potential reach will further provide convenience to customers, intra-country and particularly for cross-border transactions and remittances across Africa.
Airtel’s bouquet of telecommunications services include mobile voice and data services as well as mobile money services both nationally and internationally.
Ecobank Transnational incorporated was established in Togo in 1986 currently has banking subsidiaries in 33 African countries, including Nigeria.
The ban provides consumer, commercial banking, corporate and investment banking as well as securities, wealth and asset management to over 20 customers, including individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, regional corporations, financial institutions and international organizations and government.