Air­tel Africa links up with Fin­ablr on cross-bor­der pay­ments part­ner­ship

The National - News - - BUSINESS - NADA EL SAWY

Fin­ablr, the UAE pay­ments and for­eign ex­change hold­ing com­pany, has part­nered with Air­tel Africa, a tele­coms ser­vice provider with more than 100 million sub­scribers, the com­pa­nies said.

“We are de­lighted to part­ner with Air­tel Africa, and join hands to de­liver af­ford­able and re­li­able pay­ments ser­vices to cus­tomers,” Pro­moth Mang­hat, group chief ex­ec­u­tive of Fin­ablr, said yes­ter­day.

“To­gether, build­ing on the strength of our tech­nol­ogy plat­form, we are de­liv­er­ing Fin­Tech at scale thereby em­pow­er­ing con­sumers and busi­nesses across the con­ti­nent.”

Air­tel Africa’s mo­bile money op­er­a­tions will be in­te­grated with Fin­ablr’s tech­nol­ogy plat­form and global net­work to en­able in­bound and out­bound cross-bor­der pay­ments. The part­ner­ship will al­low cus­tomers to send money from over 100 coun­tries into Air­tel Money mo­bile wal­lets across Africa.

The ser­vices will be rolled out market-by-market in phases, with the first coun­try ex­pected to go live by the end of this year.

“We are ex­cited that Air­tel Money will col­lab­o­rate with Fin­ablr to in­tro­duce global pay­ments ser­vices.

This will en­able cus­tomers to make cross-bor­der re­mit­tances, pay bills, make pur­chases and with­draw cash from our out­lets and agents across the con­ti­nent,” said Raghu­nath Man­dava, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Air­tel Africa, which has a pres­ence in 14 coun­tries.

In­bound re­mit­tances to Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa grew nearly 10 per cent to reach $46 bil­lion (Dh168.9bn) in 2018, ac­cord­ing to the World Bank. The re­gion ranks among the most ex­pen­sive re­mit­tance cor­ri­dors glob­ally with an av­er­age money trans­fer cost of 9.4 per cent.

Fin­ablr, whose brands in­clude Trav­elex, UAE Ex­change and Xpress Money, listed on the Lon­don Stock Ex­change in May.

The ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing, which at­tracted in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors in­clud­ing Black­Rock, Columbia Thread­nee­dle In­vest­ments and Norges Bank, val­ued the com­pany at $1.6 bil­lion.

At the Fin­Tech Abu Dhabi con­fer­ence yes­ter­day, Mr Mang­hat said the com­pany has al­ready done the “heavy lift­ing” in terms of global li­cens­ing and de­vel­op­ing in­fra­struc­ture, serv­ing 170 coun­tries.

“We have seen a huge amount of part­ner­ship op­por­tu­ni­ties emerg­ing” as a re­sult, he said.

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