Airtel Africa’s CEO Raghunath Mandava outlined an intention to tap into the region’s vastly underpenetrated mobile and banking services, as it reported a strong fiscal Q2.

For the period ending 30 September, Airtel Africa grew revenue 19.6 per cent year-on-year to $965 million on a constant currency basis, attributed to expansion into rural areas and increasing 4G coverage. Data revenue was up 31.3 per cent to $283 million.

Its mobile money business registered revenue growth of 33.9 per cent to $100 million, “as lockdown restrictions were eased and fees on certain transactions, which had been previously waived, were largely reintroduced”, added Mandava.

In the digital finance sector, Mandava pointed to recent new partnerships with WorldRemit, MoneyGram, Standard Chartered Bank and Mukuru, “to increase use cases and improve customers’ access to digital payments and financial services”.

Net profit, however, fell 8.3 per cent to $88 million, as the company was hurt by higher financing costs.

Mandava warned it expected potential further issues from a second wave of Covid-19 (coronavirus) across Africa, but added it was in a “strong financial position” to cope with any disruption.

Across its 14 markets in the region, its subscriber base grew 4.4 per cent to 116.4 million.