Airtel to introduce mobile money to Rwanda by year-end

Bharti Airtel will launch Airtel Money, its mobile money service, in Rwanda by the end of this year to increase its market share following the launch of its operations in the country in April.

Rwanda’s Airtel country manager Marcellin Paluku said the platform will provide rural tailored innovative mobile financial solutions to both the financially excluded and the banked population.

“What we are going to bring here as a mobile banking solution will be quality,” he said.

The move is seen as intended to boost initiatives in promoting a cashless economy and the microfinance sector.

Paluku spoke of the uniqueness of the product, which enables a person to withdraw from ATM’s, something that is not happening presently.

Airtel’s launch, however, will face stiff competition from rival platforms such as MTN and Tigo mobile money services, which have reported rapid growth since their introduction. MTN Mobile Money alone has transacted over Rwf70 billion (US$112 million) since its introduction.

There is growing optimism within the market that mobile money platforms will also increase mobile penetration in the country, as the Rwandan government targets a penetration rate of 60 percent by the end of this year, from the current 45 percent .

Airtel Rwanda is a subsidiary of India’s Bharti Airtel, which has operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. It is also partnered with IBM to enable the telco to offer superior customer experience in Rwanda.

Currently, IBM deploys and manages the IT infrastructure for Airtel in Rwanda.

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