MTN Group launched international cash transfers from Europe to parts of the Middle East and Africa, with plans to extend availability to users making transactions from the US, Australia and the UAE.

In a statement, MTN CEO Rob Shuter (pictured) said the operator was “uniquely positioned” to offer low cost remittance into Africa given the footprint of its telecommunications and financial services platforms on the continent.

The service is available to smartphone users in Europe downloading the MTN Homeland app on iOS or Android. Cash can be sent to mobile money accounts in six markets including Uganda, Rwanda and Ghana. Mobile top-ups can be purchased and sent to users in a further 11 countries.

MTN said the service had been priced at a level which would contribute to a UN target of reducing the cost of remittances to below 3 per cent of the value of the transaction.

The service was developed by the operator and international financial technology specialists MFS Africa.

MTN’s addition of international payments is another example of expansion of financial service products being offered by large operator groups in Africa.

Over the last two years, major players MTN, Vodacom, Safaricom, Orange and Airtel have added a range of extra services compatible with mobile money platforms, from loans to bill payments for solar power.