Bharti Airtel said its mobile money service has hit the one-million milestone in the Democratic Republic of Congo — a country it describes as having the largest potential for such services in Africa outside of Nigeria and Ethiopia.
In fact, the DRC is the only market on the continent, apart from the East Africa Community and Zimbabwe, where a money service has managed to achieve scale, said the operator.
The East African Community covers Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
It’s unclear if Airtel’s comment refers to all African markets, or just those where it has a presence.
Also, the operator does not spell out why DRC is such an untapped opportunity, although it does talk up the value of “a safe, secure and convenient financial channel” to countries in sub-Saharan Africa. And DRC does have size on its side with a population of 68 million.
Aside from standard services such as P2P money transfer, Airtel Money has been deployed to enable government salaries in DRC to be delivered to employees’ mobile devices.
In December 2012 the operator started delivering salaries to police officers via Airtel Money, thanks to support from the government and in partnership with the Congolese Association of Banks and local banks.
The service has since been extended to hundreds of thousands of other government workers, including teachers and the military.