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MTN taps Turkcell for new Ayoba head

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Burak Akinci, chief executive officer of Simfy (Ayoba).
Burak Akinci, chief executive officer of Simfy (Ayoba).

MTN Group today announced the appointment of Burak Akinci as chief executive officer of Simfy (Ayoba), reporting to MTN Group chief digital and fintech officer Serigne Dioum and responsible for the super app Ayoba.

Effective 1 September, Akinci joins Africa’s mobile operator from Turkcell, where he was CEO of BiP, an instant messaging platform with millions of users across 192 countries, says MTN.

Akinci, with over 20 years of experience in marketing, digital businesses and technologies, led the build-out of the BiP platform, which has more than 30 million users.

In his new role, he will be based in Cape Town.

“We are thrilled that an executive of Burak’s calibre is joining us. His appointment accelerates our work to build the largest and most valuable platforms as we target greater digital and financial inclusion across the continent,” says Dioum.

“I feel honoured and very excited to join the MTN family and Ayoba," says Akinci. "I believe in the digital vision for Africa driven by MTN and I am confident that, with this great team, we will build the best communication platform and super app of Africa.”

At the end of March 2021, MTN had 5.3 million monthly active Ayoba users across 20 markets and a plan to grow this to 100 million in 2025.

The company aims to capture more than 10% of the gross merchandise value of the digital economy in its footprint, as it moves beyond the traditional telco-led Mobile Money (MoMo) offering with Ayoba, which is an over-the-top service that does not require users to be MTN subscribers.

“We are also targeting 100 million MoMo users by 2025, up from 46.6 million at end-March,” says the company.

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