Customers of telecommunication company, Airtel Africa, will soon be able to request for loan from Ecobank after the network provider and the lender reached an agreement.
The partnership between Airtel Africa and Ecobank Transnational Incorporation (ETI) is for the network provider’s Airtel Money service which the company is also planning to offer in Nigeria after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) approved the operation of the telecoms firm as a mobile money operator.
According to a statement on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the partnership is still subject to regulatory approval. This partnership opens both companies to a wider audience as Airtel Africa currently operates in 14 countries, while Ecobank operates in 33 countries across Africa as well.
The deal is expected to create more access to financial opportunities for those in need of capital, and also provides a payment platform for both companies’ customers.
In Nigeria alone, Airtel has about 47.7 million users. Although, the customer size of Ecobank in Nigeria is not publicly stated, the lender is spread across a number of locations across Africa, while Airtel has a large customer base across Africa as well.
Aside the access to funds, the partnership will enable the customers perform various mobile transaction between them, including product savings, international and domestic transfers.
It was also stated that Ecobank account holders will be able to make bulk disbursements, such as payroll payments, directly into Airtel Money customer wallets. Also, Ecobank will issue both virtual and physical debit and pre-paid cards to Airtel Money customers.
Speaking on the partnership, the Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mandava, said, “This partnership is a further demonstration of Airtel Africa’s commitment to provide affordable, simple and innovative solutions for our customers across Africa. We will continue to offer locally relevant M-Commerce solutions with partners like Ecobank in order to enhance the daily lives of our customers.”
Meanwhile, the CEO of Ecobank, Ade Ayeyemi, said, “We believe that financial inclusion can ultimately contribute to economic development, collaborating with major telecommunications providers in Africa is therefore a key strategic driver towards closing the gap between the banked and the unbanked.
“Hence, this partnership with Airtel Africa which makes Ecobank financial services available to any Airtel line registered on Airtel Money. In our markets where regulatory approvals are in place. This potential exensive reach will further provide convenience to customers, intra-country and particularly for cross-border transactions and remittances across Africa.” Ayeyemi concluded.