World Bank research shows that an estimated 2 billion working-age adults globally—more than half of the total adult population—have no access to the types of formal financial services delivered by regulated financial institutions that wealthier people rely on. This means that, despite the growth of the financial sector, access to formal financial services still remains relatively limited; particularly, in rural areas.
The technological advancement of mobile phones and the evolution of the services provided by telecom providers gave birth to mobile money – a solution to financial exclusion.
Research done and published by finclusion.org in 2015 showed that 35 per cent of Ugandans had a registered mobile money account and that mobile money was the predominant financial service in Uganda.
Currently over 8million Ugandans transact on the different mobile money platforms, a number expected to grow predominantly in the next few years. Airtel managing director, V.G Somasekhar, while speaking to media noted: “At Airtel, we believe mobile commerce is the next big thing and as such we have positioned Airtel money as the one stop shop for all our customer needs to ensure a boost in financial inclusion.”
“Financial services such as utility bill payments, purchase of data and airtime, group collections, ATM withdrawals, savings, school fees payments and even credit facilities termed ‘wewole’ are just some of the services that Airtel Uganda subscribers are privy to either by way of specially designed banking apps or the more conventional USSD short codes,” Somasekhar noted.
According to Somasekhar, all these offerings are geared towards introducing value-added services to the existing conventional money transfer service with an aim of creating convenience and ease for the customers.
The Airtel Money platform has been a major contributor to building a cashless economy with its customized offerings.