Africa’s largest telecoms provider MTN Nigeria become the first telecoms company in the country to offer mobile banking to its 56 million customers on Monday.
A subsidiary of MTN Nigeria has been granted a licence to provide financial services in the country by the Nigerian Central Bank.
The “full super agent” licence was granted to its Yello Digital Financial Services Limited (YDFS) unit following the completion of a pilot phase that began in December 2018.
The licence will allow MTN to access unbanked Nigerians, estimated by the World Bank to number around 100 million, MTN Nigeria’s CEO Ferdi Moolman said on Monday.
“Through the network established by YDFS, MTN is in a position to broaden the availability of financial services for the under-served across the country. This marks a very important first step in leveraging our infrastructure to scale our fintech initiatives,” said Moolman.
“We have also applied for a Payment Service Bank Licence, which will enable us in time to offer a broader and deeper range of financial services to those communities and we remain hopeful we will receive approval shortly,” he said.
Last year Africa’s largest economy by GDP followed in the footsteps of Kenya by opening up its financial services sector to telecoms companies.
The move will help the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) achieve its target of lifting financial inclusion in Nigeria from 40% to 80% by 2020.
In May, MTN Nigeria listed in Lagos with a two trillion naira debut, the stock exchange’s second-largest stock by market value.
Nigeria’s central bank has also ordered MTN to pay $8.1bn in unpaid taxes.