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IFC and Airtel Money to Expand Access to Mobile Financial Services in Uganda


In Johannesburg:
Anna Koblanck
Phone: +27 11 731 3078
E-mail: akoblanck@ifc.org

In Nairobi:
Neha Sud
Phone: +254 202 937 403
Email: nsud@ifc.org


Johannesburg, South Africa, September 17, 2014—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced an advisory services agreement, valued at $3.9 million, with Airtel Uganda to expand access to mobile financial services to strengthen financial inclusion.

In Uganda, just over half of the adult population has access to formal financial services, leaving the other half no choice but to rely only on cash and informal practices for transactions, savings and credit, which is costly and risky.

The aim of the three-year project is to assist Airtel Money Uganda in strengthening its mobile money operation to increase the number of its active customers. These customers will include rural and underserved communities and women. IFC will provide advisory services on agent network management and product development, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Chidi Okpala, Director and Head of Airtel Money Africa, said, "We are quite pleased with this support from IFC and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It will help us to further strengthen our distribution capability and involvement in deepening access to financial services and the creation of cashless ecosystems in Uganda.”

The implementation of mobile financial services has shown to be a successful way of increasing access to financial services, and thus an important tool in the fight against poverty and the promotion of inclusive economic growth. In Tanzania, recent FinScope data show that the use of mobile money services has helped increase the rate of financial inclusion from 15.8 to 57.4 percent in just four years.

Greta Bull, IFC Head of Micro Retail Advisory Services in Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “The lack of access to formal financial services means many Ugandans have no safe or sustainable way of saving or transacting money. Mobile money offers great potential in extending formal financial services also to the low-income market, and our partnership with Airtel Uganda will further that cause.”

About Bharti Airtel
Bharti Airtel Limited is a global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks among the top four mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In Africa it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 297 million customers across its operations at the end of April 2014. To know more please visit, www.airtel.com

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
 
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