Airtel, IFC ink $1-mn deal for mobile financial services in Zambia

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    New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS) The World Bank's arm International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Airtel Zambia have inked an agreement valued at $1 million to increase access to mobile financial services in that country, a company statement said here Tuesday.

    "The overall aim of the three-year project is to assist Airtel Money Zambia in building a sustainable mobile money operation. IFC will provide market research and advisory services on agent network management and business strategy development.

    "The project is part of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion, a $37.4 million joint initiative of IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to expand microfinance and advance mobile financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa," the statement said.

    It said that in Zambia 66 percent of the adult population is currently excluded from formal financial services.

    "A key focus area for Airtel Money is to support the government's mandate to enhance financial inclusion and to reach out to the un-banked population who may still have fears of mainstream banking or believe the services are too costly," said Brenda Thole, Airtel Money Director Zambia.

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