First mobile banking service launches in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso’s largest mobile operator has launched its own mobile money platform in partnership with Ecobank. Airtel Burkina Faso’s new Airtel Money service – also known as m-ligdi – will allow consumers to top up their phones with air time, send and receive money, pay their critical utility bills, and access their bank accounts.

In many developing regions, including Africa, the availability of formal financial services is limited to certain geographic and income ranges, often leaving the majority of the population to rely on unreliable and costly informal channels for their financial transactions. Against this backdrop, the total value of mobile money transfers in Africa is estimated to exceed US$200 billion in 2015 due to users’ growing trust in the system and the growing range of services provided. Key market players, banks and mobile operators in particular, are keen to address this opportunity.

John Ndego, Airtel Managing Director said: “On a day to day basis with Airtel Money, you no longer have to carry cash. All you need is your mobile telephone. This service allows customers to send money to loved ones, pay essential utility bills such as electricity or water, settle grocery bills in the supermarket and even top up your phone with airtime.”

According to Cheikh Travaly, Director of Ecobank, "Everything is done to fully support the efforts of Airtel SA Burkina Faso in order to improve the lives of our people with this new electronic payment service. The service will extend the financial inclusion program launched by Ecobank in Burkina Faso and will have a tangible positive impact on the community.”

The transactions will be very simple and also completely secure. All a customer needs is a mobile phone and a personal password every time they want to carry out a transaction. To benefit from this service, Airtel customers need only have a valid ID document and fill out a registration form.

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