Standard Chartered/Airtel Africa partner to drive financial inclusion in Africa


STANDARD Chartered and Airtel Africa have agreed to work together to co-create new, innovative products aimed at enhancing the accessibility of financial services.

The two entities announced Wednesday a strategic collaboration to drive financial inclusion across key markets in Africa by providing customers with increased access to mobile financial services.

Through the collaboration, Standard Chartered and Airtel Africa will work together to co-create new, innovative products aimed at enhancing the accessibility of financial services and, ultimately, better serve people across Africa.

In line with this, Airtel Money’s customers will be able to make real-time online deposits and withdrawals from Standard Chartered bank accounts, receive international money transfers directly to their wallets, and access savings products amongst other services.

Standard Chartered’s corporate clients will also be able to make rapid and secure bulk disbursements, such as payroll payments, directly into the Airtel Money customers wallet.

The initiative is set to reduce the risks associated with travelling long distances for cash payments and instead customers can go to any Airtel Money agent, kiosk, or branch to cash-out their funds.

Commenting, Standard Chartered regional chief executive officer for Africa and Middle, Sunil Kaushal, said: “By collaborating with innovative organisations like Airtel Africa, we are accelerating our mobile and digital-led strategy to provide best in class financial services to Africa.”

Over the past year, he said Standard Chartered has rapidly launched digital banks across nine countries on the continent, allowing customers to enjoy seamless services from the safety of their homes even during the peak of the pandemic.

“This partnership will further enhance the ability of our customers to manage and move money safely and securely and create market-leading financial solutions across countries,” he said.

By partnering with mobile wallet providers, the bank has expanded its network into markets where mobile wallets are prevalent, offer solutions that enable corporate and institutional clients to leverage the opportunities presented by mobile money, and enable efficient, scalable e-commerce and m-commerce solutions.

The partnership also supports Airtel Africa’s efforts to expand the range and depth of its Airtel Money offerings across its 19 million customer base, with new products and services helping to promote the wider adoption of mobile money and increasing financial inclusion.

Raghunath Mandava, CEO, Airtel Africa, said: “Our relationship with Standard Chartered boosts financial inclusion across the continent, giving millions of people access to valuable banking services. We continue to invest heavily in cashing in and cashing out locations for our customers and increase our distribution.

“This means that our customers can now send or receive digital payments via Standard Chartered Bank directly to their mobile phones, as well as cash-out their funds at our exclusive kiosks and branches at their convenience.”

Mobile banking transfers between Airtel Money and Standard Chartered Bank are already live in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia with remaining products set to be rolled out later this year to other markets subject to regulatory approvals.