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MTN, IFC in R28m MoMo deal; to recruit 10 000 agents

Samuel Mungadze
By Samuel Mungadze, Africa editor
Johannesburg, 19 May 2021
Felix Kamenga, MTN SA chief officer for mobile financial services.
Felix Kamenga, MTN SA chief officer for mobile financial services.

MTN and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) today announced a R28 million investment deal to expand the telco’s Mobile Money (MoMo) business in SA and recruit 10 000 people as agents.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and MTN say the alliance will target the unbanked and underbanked population through establishing a strong network of MoMo agents in the country.

IFC is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries, advancing economic development by encouraging the growth of private enterprise.

MTN and IFC will also create a team of trade development representatives trained by both entities, 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.

On MTN’s part, it will identify, recruit, enroll, train and supervise the new MoMo agents, as well as assist any dormant MoMo agents.

In a statement today, MTN says there is a particular focus on ensuring female-owned businesses are empowered and involved in the financial sector through this programme.

The aim, it says, is to have viable stand-alone businesses that can increase transactional activity for the agents and increase awareness of MoMo’s value-add services.

“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,” says Felix Kamenga, chief officer for mobile financial services at MTN SA.

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

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

Likewise, Adamou Labara, IFC country manager for SA, says: “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.”

The MTN and IFC collaboration comes as the telco has seen significant growth in its MoMo services in recent months.

In SA, MoMo is closing in on a total of just over two million users since its relaunch in February last year.

Kamenga told ITWeb in a recent interview that MTN has identified fintech as a key growth pillar and, as such, is committed to funding MoMo over the next few years.

He explained at the time: “The investment in both capex and opex is several hundred million rands. Beyond just the finances, mobile money operations by their very nature with their focus on the unbanked and informal network require significant manpower.

“The investment in people has resulted in over 700 new jobs being created, predominantly for the youth, with more expected after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our target for 2020 was to achieve one million users and we surpassed the number within six months. Our current focus is to ensure we retain our existing customers and recruit more customers by introducing more innovative features into MoMo.”