The World Bank through the International Finance Corporation (IFC) , a private lender has given telecom services provider Airtel Uganda a $3.9 million advisory services agreement that will assist the telcom strengthen mobile money operation to reach rural and underserved communities and women.
Additionally, IFC will provide advisory services on agent network management and product development, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Chidi Okpala, Director and Head of Airtel Money Africa, said the support from IFC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will help strengthen their distribution capability and involvement in deepening access to financial services and the creation of cashless ecosystems in Uganda as well.
“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.” Greta Bull, IFC Head of Micro Retail Advisory Services in Sub-Saharan Africa, is quoted in the statement issued last week.
Airtel was launched in Uganda in June 2010 and likes to call itself the most innovative mobile phone operator, which has introduced many “firsts” in the telecommunications sector. Airtel Uganda is a subsidairy of India-based Bharti Airtel Limited (BAL).
Mobile financial services in Uganda have proven to be a successful way of increasing access to financial services in the country so far.
Headquartered in New Delhi, BAL ranks amongst the top four mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers.