MTN Group and Bharti Airtel announced a cross-border partnership so that remittance payments can be delivered between two African countries.
The partnership will support subscribers from MTN Ivory Coast and Airtel in Burkina Faso.
Chidi Okpala (pictured), Airtel Africa Group’s director for Airtel Money, described the alliance as “quite symbolic”. He said it was “the first time that two leading providers of mobile money services are cooperating to offer a service”.
Secondly, this will be the first cross-border mobile-to-mobile remittance service in West Africa, he said.
The two operators are pitching the proposed service as an antidote to current means of sending money between the two countries.
Remittance between Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso suffers from high fees, “high usage of informal channels and a lack of proximity to withdraw money”, said the operators.
A sizable number of Burkinabe work in Ivory Coast and send money back to friends and family in their home country.
Meanwhile Airtel has also struck an agreement with Vivo Energy, a Shell licensee with a widespread African footprint. The agreement means Shell service stations will act as agents for the operator’s money service.
In addition to acting as a cash-in and cash-out points, the service stations will accept Airtel money as payment and will also sell Airtel’s airtime and provide cash float to the operator’s money agents.
The partnership will be rolled out in Uganda, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Madagascar and Kenya where both companies overlap in the first half of this year.