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
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.