MTN, the ambitious Africa’s biggest mobile operator, is gunning to become Africa’s biggest bank.
The business strategy was revealed by MTN CEO, Rob Shuter during the Deloitte Africa in 2018 Outlook conference in Woodmead.
The company is encouraged by the progress made by its Mobile Money offering in other geographies that it operates in. This is despite MTN Mobile Money failing to gain traction in the South African market, with the telco eventually killing it off in 2016 due to lack of commercial viability.
MTN Mobile Money allows anyone with a mobile phone to send and receive money quickly, safely, affordably and conveniently.
“The core digital service that we have decided to put our money on is Mobile Money,” said Shuter. “Mobile Money is really about leveraging the strength of the brand and leveraging the strength of the distribution because we have built a huge informal distribution network for prepaid airtime to bring customers into a transactional banking system.”
He pointed out that MTN has deployed Mobile Money across 14 markets and “if we look at our 30-day active users, which is the most important matric, we are growing by half a million customers a month. I think that’s pretty cool and today we are sitting at 21 million subscribers.
“We are a new age transactional banking provider and it’s a very big imperative for us, and the key thing we want to do is to scale it rapidly.”
According to Shuter, MTN wants to build Mobile Money into a 60 million customer business in the next three to four years.
“We will be the largest bank in Africa, leveraging scale, network, brand, infrastructure and distribution,” he noted.
Mobile Money in Africa
Mobile money accounts are slowly replacing traditional bank accounts in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a new report by GSMA — the body that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide.
The report, The Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa 2017, shows that there were 277 million registered mobile money accounts in the region at the end of 2016 while the number of live mobile money schemes had reached 140 across 39 countries, accounting for more than half of the 277 mobile money deployments worldwide.
The study also shows that more than 40 per cent of adults in Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe are active mobile money users.