Airtel Africa and Western Union, a prominent leader in cross-border and currency money transfers plus payments are partnering together to enable customers move money across 14 African countries.
The strategic agreement between the two companies was made public a few days ago and will give customers using Airtel and Western Union services to transfer money between the two platforms easily.
As part of the services that are due to launch during the year, Airtel Payments Bank customers will be able to direct any Western Union money transfer into their bank accounts in real time via their banking app.
The partnership will also allow Airtel Money mobile wallet users across 14 African countries — Nigeria, Uganda, Gabon, Tanzania, Zambia, DRC, Malawi, Madagascar, Kenya, Congo, Niger, Tchad, Rwanda, and Seychelles — to route any money transfer received directly to their mobile wallet in real-time.
Western Union and Airtel partnership will allow cross-border capability enabling customers to move money in real-time and make payments faster
Airtel’s collaboration with Western Union will unlock the market sphere further than before bringing more than 20 million customers across different regions closer.
The service which is expected to launch early this year, will also allow users to pay bills and merchants, top-up airtime and send money domestically and internationally.
Global senders will also be able to direct international money transfers to Airtel Money mobile wallets using Western Union’s digital services in 75 countries plus territories, or the walk-in agent network across more than 200 countries and territories.
“Western Union’s unique ability to partner with a growing base of tech leaders is helping Africa to connect to the global financial system and enables African companies like Airtel to pursue their global ambitions. It also drives financial inclusion and improve last mile access for millions of unbanked Africans to financial services,” said Western Union President and CEO, Hikmet Ersek.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is leading the way globally in mobile money and digital technology and is allowing the continent to leapfrog traditional barriers to development and accelerate economic growth. We are delighted to be part of this success story by leveraging our inclusive omnichannel approach and core assets – including global settlement capabilities, network, compliance and technology systems – to enable international cross border money transfers and payments,” Ersek said.
Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, said, “We are very excited to partner with Western Union to offer Airtel Money customers better access to one of the world’s largest money transfer organisations. International remittances into Africa are a lifeline to some of our customers. This partnership will give our customers the convenience and security of directly receiving and sending remittances from their Airtel mobile money wallets. They will now be automatically credited and debited via their Airtel mobile money wallets on their phone and can immediately access the funds to pay bills or merchants and transfer funds to family and friends or convert to cash from the widespread Airtel Money agents, kiosks and branches.”
Sub-Saharan Africa is a home to the world’s largest free trade area and a 1.2 billion-person market, the continent is poised to create an entirely new development path harnessing the potential of its resources and people, according to the World Bank 1 GSMA 2 project that in 2025, there will be nearly 6 billion unique subscribers, 5 billion mobile internet users and adoption of smartphones will reach nearly 80%.
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Author: Allan Bangirana
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre & Spur Magazine. He is passionate about tech, games and occasionally writes about entertainment, lifestyle and so much more.