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Airtel Africa, one of the continent's leading providers of telecommunications and mobile money services, has launched the Airtel Money MasterCard virtual payment solution in Zambia. It enables the countries Airtel Money clients to make global e-commerce payments regardless of whether they have bank accounts or not.
According to IT News Africa, this new development which is in partnership with Mastercard, is part of Airtel's efforts to meet the ever-increasing demand for a safe and secure digital payment platform for its over 100 million Airtel Africa mobile phone users across 14 African countries; primarily in East Africa, Central Africa, and West Africa.
According to IT News Africa, the virtual (non-plastic, non-physical) payment solution is linked to Airtel Money wallets. It can be used to make a wide range of payments to online merchants that accept Mastercard, such as Netflix, Uber, Amazon, Google, Aliexpress, Alibaba, and others.
Forbes states that registered mobile money accounts in Africa grew 12 percent to 562 million in 2020, while monthly active accounts were 161 million, an 18 percent increase. Total transactions hit 27.5 billion (up 15%) valued at $495 billion (up 23%). Africa has 171 active mobile money services.
Airtel Money Director in Zambia, James Chona, told IT News Africa that the new payment platform would expedite efficiency and seamless online payments as well as heighten financial inclusion.
“At Airtel, we are continually looking at new ways to add value and create an enhanced customer experience for our customers using our products and services. Mastercard is a leading technology company in the global payments industry, and with the Mastercard virtual payment solution added to Airtel Money wallets, customers will find making digital payments easier,” Choma said to IT News Africa.
Digital Partnerships, Mastercard Middle East and Africa SVP, Ngozi Megwa expressed to IT News Africa that Airtel Money customers will help in accomplishing Mastercard's pledge to bring a total of 1 billion people as well as 50 million micro and small businesses and 25 million women, entrepreneurs, into the global digital economy by 2025.
“Our digital partnerships strategy remains focused on enabling the digital transformation of our partners so that their customers can enjoy seamless access to a global payments eco-system with a superior user experience. Mastercard is uniquely positioned as a single technology provider to enable the digital transformation of our partners like Airtel, while connecting over 3.5 million Airtel Zambia consumers, as reported in June 2021, to the global digital economy,” said Ngozi said.
Mobile Money transactions boomed globally in 2020, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, which globally accounted for 43 percent of all new accounts, according to the London-based GSM Association (an umbrella body for the mobile industry) quoted by IT News Africa.
Airtel Africa offers an integrated suite of telecommunications solutions to its subscribers, including mobile voice and data services as well as mobile money services both nationally and internationally.