Airtel Africa to invest $200m in mobile money business


By Kayode Tokede

Airtel Africa Plc has announced the signing of an agreement of $200 million investment in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV) by TPG’s Rise Fund, a global impact investing platform.

The Group Company Secretary, Airtel Africa,  Mr Simon O’Hara, in a statement on Thursday, said the  transaction valued Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt free basis.

The statement said the Rise Fund would hold a minority stake in AMC BV upon completion of the transaction, with Airtel Africa continuing to hold the remaining majority stake.

The statement said that the transaction was subject to customary closing conditions, including necessary regulatory filings and approvals as necessary and the inclusion of specified mobile money business assets and contracts into AMC BV.

According to the statement, AMC BV is currently the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations and will own and operate the mobile money businesses across all of Airtel Africa’s 14 operating countries.

The transaction was the latest step in the group’s pursuit of strategic asset monetisation and investment opportunities and it was the aim of Airtel Africa to explore the potential listing of the mobile money business within four years.

Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa, Mr. Raghunath Mandava was quoted by the statement as saying that, the company would continue to offer unique digital mobile financial services.

“In line with our vision of enhancing financial inclusion, Airtel Africa offers a unique digital mobile financial services platform under the Airtel Money brand.

“In most of our markets, there is limited access to traditional financial institutions and little banking infrastructure, with less than half of the population having a bank account across sub-Saharan Africa.

“Our markets therefore, afford substantial market potential for mobile money services to meet the needs of the tens of millions of customers in Africa, who have little or no access to banking and financial services and this demand is driving growth.

“With today’s announcement, we are pleased to welcome the Rise Fund as an investor in our mobile money business and as a partner to help us realise the full potential from the substantial opportunity to bank the unbanked across Africa,” Mandava said.

Partner at TPG, Mr Yemi Lalude  who led Africa investing for the Rise Fund, was also quoted by the statement as saying that, financial inclusion was a global issue that is most acute in Africa.

“Through Airtel Money, Airtel Africa, has built a unique platform that is closing the gap between traditional financial institutions and the millions of unbanked Africans across the 14 countries where Airtel Africa operates.

“We look forward to working with Airtel Africa to enhance their mobile money services, broaden its use cases and grow into new markets.

“With this investment in Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations, we are excited to expand the Rise Fund’s global fintech portfolio and continue to deepen our focus on improving financial inclusion in Africa and around the world,” Lalude said.