Leading telecom service provider Airtel Africa has revealed that the Qatari state-owned wealth fund will make a $200-million investment in Airtel Mobile Commerce through its wholly-owned affiliate, Qatar Holding LLC. The company made the statement from its London-based headquarters.
Airtel Mobile Commerce (AMC) is a subsidiary of Airtel Africa, which controls its mobile money businesses in Africa. The company reported a $124-million revenue in the first quarter of its 2022 financial year, following a 24.6-percent growth in its customer base.
The transaction, which values Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65 billion, will help scale its operations across the 14 countries in which it presently operates.
AMC is expected to leverage the reach of Airtel’s extensive distribution platform, which includes kiosks and mini-shops. It will also leverage dedicated Airtel Money branches to facilitate customer access to cash.
The investment will set the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) on course to join other partners like Mastercard, Samsung, Asante, Standard Chartered Bank, MoneyGram, Mukuru and WorldRemit, who have taken key steps to expand the range and depth of Airtel Money offerings and to further drive customer growth and penetration.
Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud, the CEO of the QIA, said the partnership will help Airtel Africa promote financial inclusion among the large and growing population of Sub-Saharan Africa.
He added that the investment will facilitate economic activity in Africa as financially excluded groups on the continent will have easy access to traditional financial services.
The QIA is a sovereign wealth fund founded by the State of Qatar in 2005 to strengthen the country’s economy by diversifying into new asset classes due to a strategy to minimize risk from Qatar’s reliance on energy prices.
The fund predominantly invests in international markets, and outside the energy sector within Qatar. As of 2021, the QIA is estimated to have $300 billion of assets spread across the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.