better late than never

Nigeria: Airtel ‘ready to launch’ in promising mobile money market, says CEO Segun Ogunsanya

By Temitayo Lawal

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Posted on November 18, 2021 15:42

 © Airtel Africa CEO Segun Ogunsanya
Airtel Africa CEO Segun Ogunsanya

The Nigerian banking regulator has finally rowed back on its mobile money policy, which strongly favoured a bank-led model. The central bank has issued a preliminary approval to Airtel and MTN to offer mobile money services and help the country achieve its ambitious financial inclusion targets. Airtel could raise an extra $400m in revenue, according to analysts. Airtel Africa CEO Segun Ogunsanya speaks with The Africa Report on how the telecom giant can deepen Nigeria’s mobile money market, the infrastructure challenge ahead, and the positive knock-on effect on the fintech landscape.

After it issued the first set of Payment Service Bank (PSB) licenses to local telcos in August last year, Nigeria’s apex bank has granted an approval-in-principle to Airtel Africa, one of the biggest telecom operators in the country.

This is meant to usher in full participation of telcos in the mobile money market and catalyse inclusion of the rural poor – especially in northern Nigeria – the youth, and women who form the bulk of the country’s unbanked population.

Following the announcement by the CBN, the share price of the telecom giant has significantly grown. On Monday 9 November, the first official trading day after the public announcement on Friday, local media reported that Airtel’s market capitalisation grew by N293.13bn ($711m), from N2.93trn to N3.22trn. At the end of the trading week, its share price had risen by 11.8% to close at N871.70 per share.

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