Airtel, IFC Sign Pact to Expand Mobile Financial Services in Zambia

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Airtel, IFC Sign Pact to Expand Mobile Financial Services in Zambia

In order to strengthen financial inclusion, World Bank's arm International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Airtel Zambia have signed an agreement to increase access to mobile financial services in that nation.

The agreement is valued at $ 1 million.

"The overall aim of the three-year project is to assist Airtel Money Zambia in building a sustainable mobile money operation," a statement said.

IFC will provide market research and advisory services on agent network management and business strategy development.

The project is part of the partnership for financial inclusion, a $37.4 million joint initiative of IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to expand microfinance and advance mobile financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa.

(Also See: Airtel Said to Be in Talks With ATC and Eaton for Sale of Africa Towers)

"A key focus area for Airtel Money is to support the government's mandate to enhance financial inclusion and to reach out to the un-banked population who may still have fears of mainstream banking or believe the services are too costly," Airtel Money Director Zambia Brenda Thole said.

In Zambia, 66 percent of the adult population is currently excluded from formal financial services.

"Mobile phone usage is very high in Zambia making it an ideal market in which to leverage technology to reach those who have previously been excluded from formal financial services," IFC Regional Manager (Advisory Services, Financial Institutions Group, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean) Greta Bull said.

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