The Eagle Online: Bharti Airtel, a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, is emerging as one of the most preferred financial services providers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, helping to further deepen the country’s financial sector.
‘Airtel Money’, the company’s mobile money platform, is already making a revolutionary mark in the country with the government embracing it to make seamless large-scale salary payments from December last year. Now, civil servants including the military, the police force, pensioners and other civil servants can receive payments on their mobile phones.
Louis Luballa, the Managing Director of Airtel DRC said: “In May 2013, about 66,000 civil servants in DRC received their salaries via Airtel Money, a demonstration of how technology can make things easy.
“With Airtel Money, Airtel DRC is paving the way to a new era of financial transactions at the tap of a mobile phone, helping to save time going to the banking halls. The introduction of this revolutionary service in the DRC market clearly demonstrates the key role Airtel is playing in empowering local communities in DRC and across Sub-Saharan Africa.”
DRC remains one of the countries with limited banking facilities in Africa but rapid development in ICT sector, particularly mobile telephony is sending a strong message about the continent’s potential to innovate. Africa is now considered as the fastest emergent continent in the ICT sector growth after Asia.
According to a study by the African Development Bank last year, “the number of subscribers on the continent has grown almost 20 per cent each year for the past five years. Mobile telephony penetration in Africa has increased exponentially from less than 2 million subscribers in 1998 to over 500 million in 2011.”
The study, named Mobile Financial Services in Africa: Reaching All Sections of the Population, singled out DRC as one of the countries where mobile banking is taking services to remote areas where conventional banks have been physically absent or too expensive.
In December 2012, with the support from the DRC central Government and in partnership with the Congolese Association of Banks and local banks, more than 1,100 policemen received their salaries via Airtel Money.
The initiative, launched in Kinshasa, was lauded for its innovativeness and stakeholders agreed to extend it throughout the country. Right now, more than 66,000 Civil servants – policemen, teachers, militaries…- are experiencing the tremendous benefit of Mobile banking as they are receiving their salaries via Airtel Money every month.
Airtel has been at the forefront of technological innovations. When it launched the Airtel Money services in DRC in March 2012, the telecommunications company introduced the concept of mobile banking in the Central African country. The mobile Money platform has been widely adopted by customers for the purchase of airtime, Person-2-Person cash transfers and utility bill Payments.
According to the company, registering for Airtel Money only require customers registering their personal details with a valid photo ID card. This automatically registers the user’s SIM card after which, the customer is able to begin using the service.