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Airtel Africa’s new investor sees scope for mobile-money expansion

By David Whitehouse
Posted on Tuesday, 30 March 2021 15:05

The logo of telecommunications company Airtel is pictured on a street in Abuja, Nigeria July 9, 2019. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Airtel Africa has the potential to extend the range its mobile-money financial services, says Yemi Lalude, managing partner for Africa at the TPG private investment firm.

Airtel Africa has the chance to follow the path of M-Pesa in Kenya and go beyond “basic mobile money 1.0” to embrace value-added services, says Lalude in London. Business loans, insurance and savings would be a way for Airtel Africa to reach “mobile money 2.0”, he adds.

TPG said in March it will invest $200m in Airtel Mobile Commerce, a subsidiary of Airtel Africa. The transaction, which values Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65b, is due to close in the second quarter.

Mobile money is “the best way to achieve financial inclusion at scale,” Lalude says. The potential for new financial services, he says, exists in all of the 14 countries where Airtel Africa operates. “The needs are the same.”