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Bharti Airtel launches Airtel Money in Uganda

The Economic Times:  February 02, 2012

Kolkata: Bharti Airtel on Wednesday launched its mobile money platform, christened, 'Airtel Money' in Uganda. The service will provide Airtel customers in Uganda easy access to innovative financial services through mobile phones.

The platform will allow customers to top up their cellphones with airtime, send and receive money, pay utility bills, access their bank accounts and even withdraw Airtel money across all inter-switch ATMs countrywide.

Bharti Airtel has teamed up with international and regional banks to provide customers with access to deposit and withdraw cash, money transfers, banking services and pay bills. It has forged partnerships with Standard Chartered Bank, Post Bank, Pride Micro Finance, Centenary Rural Development Bank, Equity Bank, Diamond Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, Kenya Commercial Bank, Baroda, Eco Bank and Finance Trust Bank to provide such services.

Airtel Uganda managing director V.G. Somasekhar said mobile commerce will help the company assist large swathes of the local population through its distribution network. "Airtel Money's new platform will provide customers with a useful offering of products that cuts across Mobile banking including ATM transactions, utility bill payments, Airtime top ups and Money Transfer services" he said.

Somasekhar added that the rural population has been left out of the financial system due to cost and distance from urban centres. The Airtel Money Agent network throughout Uganda enables customers to transact money anywhere. There are more than 3800 Airtel money agents, ensuring the widest availability of Airtel Money throughout Uganda.

Nyombi Thembo , Uganda's minister of state for ICT in his speech said: "ICTs are increasingly in demand to meet the Millennium Development Goals. In the rural context, ICTs provide enhanced opportunities to generate income and combat poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy.

'We congratulate Airtel and believe through its Airtel money initiatives, customers and communities even in the deepest rural areas of Uganda will take maximum advantage and reap the benefits of mobile commerce and other innovative services from Airtel", he said. Uganda's prime minister Amama Mbabazi, in turn, commended Airtel Uganda for partnering with the government in positively impacting the ICT industry and the country at large.

"During their entry into the Ugandan Market, Airtel announced an investment of up to $100 million into the market and part of this would be allocated towards the provision of innovative mMobile services in Uganda. I am pleased to see how mobile services are complementing the banking sector."

"We believe that the Airtel Money services will be a catalyst to support economic activities such as agriculture, mining, fishing and ultimately contribute to the economic growth of our country, especially within the rural sector. " he concluded.

According to Airtel Uganda's national sales nanager (M-Commerce) Nuhu Kanyike, Airtel Money will be available to all Airtel customers, both Prepaid and Postpaid and registration is free at all Airtel Centers and Airtel Money outlets countrywide.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.