Mastercard to invest R1.5-billion into Airtel Africa’s fintech unit

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Mastercard will pump US$100-million (R1.5-billion) in Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations, valuing the business at $2.65-billion (R39.2-billion), the London-listed company said on Thursday.

Mastercard will hold a minority stake in Airtel Mobile Commerce, in line with Airtel Africa’s plan to monetise the mobile money business by selling up to a 25% stake in the unit, the company said.

The agreement, the companies said, will give over 100 million Airtel Africa mobile phone users across 14 African countries access to Mastercard’s global network.

“The Mastercard virtual (non-plastic) card allows Airtel Money customers, even those without a bank account, to make payments to local and global online merchants that accept Mastercard cards, while ensuring that the customer’s financial data is always secure and private,” they said in a statement on Thursday.

Airtel Money customers will also be able to make in-person payments at outlets via QR codes. Mastercard is promising “competitive pricing and preferential exchange rates for international payments”.

Airtel Africa has operations mainly in East, Central and West Africa.

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