(Ecofin Agency) - Mobile operator MTN South Africa announced on May 19 it has reached a $2 billion deal with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop its mobile money business. Through this partnership, MTN South Africa plans to recruit 10,000 additional agents this year, and a business development team that will be trained to manage the agent portfolio, and ensure compliance with regulations, including anti-money laundering.
Felix Kamenga (pictured), MTN South Africa’s chief officer for Mobile Financial Services, explained that this partnership provides an opportunity to bridge the digital divide and expand financial inclusion in South Africa. For Adamou Labara, IFC's country director for South Africa, digital technologies help connect businesses with customers and suppliers, and increase access to lending and payment systems for individuals and small businesses. "Mobile money [...] is needed more than ever to help small businesses grow and reach communities where access to financial services is limited," he said.
MTN South Africa relaunched its mobile financial service MTN Mobile Money in January 2020, after a four-year break following a failure in its business strategy. The telecom company has stepped up to boost its activity with the growing interest in mobile money due to Covid-19. In its 2020 financial report released on March 31, 2021, MTN Group said that the fintech business in South Africa recorded 2.5 million users for revenue of R1,052 million ($74.6 million).
With MTN South Africa's announced investments in mobile money, Felix Kamenga said many unbanked and underbanked South Africans will soon have the ability to manage their money digitally. The strategy will also be an additional source of revenue for the company, which is engaged in a new strategic repositioning policy.