Airtel Africa ties up with Finablr for cross-border payments

The telecoms provider will integrate Finablr's technology platform for its mobile money operations

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, October 22, 2019.  
Fintech Abu Dhabi at ADNEC.
--Promoth Manghat on Building a Global Fintech Locally.
Victor Besa/The National
Section:  BZ
Reporter:  Nada El Sawy
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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 on Tuesday.

“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 on Tuesday, 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.