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MTN SA strikes US$2m deal with IFC to build MoMo agent network

MTN South Africa has announced a US$2-million partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to expand MTN’s Mobile Money (MoMo) business in South Africa.

The operator said the partnership will target the unbanked and underbanked population through establishing a strong network of MoMo agents in the country.

According to a statement released by MTN, the partners will look to recruit 10 000 Mobile Money agents this year.

The mobile network operator will identify, recruit, enroll, train, and supervise the new MoMo agents “and assist any dormant MoMo agents by giving them support where they struggle to get off the ground.”

“A team of Trade Development Representatives will be created and trained by MTNSA and IFC to manage a portfolio of MoMo agents, support them in growing their business and managing compliance regulations like Anti Money Laundering and Know Your Customer,” reads an excerpt from the statement.

Felix Kamenga, Chief Officer for Mobile Financial Services at MTN South Africa, said, “IFC has assisted with funding and advisory services in several other Fintech operations in Africa and this partnership provides the opportunity to bridge the digital divide and broaden financial inclusion in South Africa.”

The partners added that there is a particular focus on ensuring female-owned businesses are empowered and involved in the financial sector through this programme. The aim is to have viable stand-alone businesses that can increase transactional activity for the agents and increase awareness of MoMo value-add services.

“The growth and development of 10,000 MoMo agent businesses across the country not only benefits local communities and economies,” says Kamenga, “but has the ripple effect of many more unbanked and underbanked South Africans having an opportunity to manage their money digitally, wherever they are.”

Adamou Labara, IFC’s Country Manager for South Africa, said, “Digital technologies are helping connect businesses with customers and suppliers and increasing access to lending and payment systems for individuals and small businesses. Mobile money is a perfect example of this and is needed now, more than ever, to help small businesses to grow and to reach communities where access to financial services is low.”

“In this programme we hope to bring this to fruition by engaging with small and medium sized retail businesses with a particular focus on developing youth and women and under-serviced areas.”

Recently, by way of contribution to research by the World Bank, in partnership with Knomad, MTN said the total value of remittance grew by 160.5% to US$552-million in the first quarter of 2021 alone.

In March this year ITWeb reported that according to the GSM Association’s (GSMA) annual State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money, for the first time, more than US$1-billion was sent and received in the form of remittances globally every month via mobile money.

The report says mobile transactions accelerated during the COVID-19-induced lockdowns across the globe.

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