The United Bank for Africa (UBA) has partnered Airtel in a deal that will see both firms provide mobile-based financial services across Africa via Airtel Money.

UBA operates in 19 African countries with a customer base of over 10 million while Airtel is present in 17 African countries and serves about 30 million registered mobile money customers. The partnership is a perfect synergy structured to service customers in the 12 countries where both firms are already present; these countries include Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Chad, Zambia, Congo Brazzaville and Congo DRC.

A suite of services that will be relevant to the objective of providing convenience to customers have already been identified and include Mobile Banking, Super Agency Services, International Money Transfer Services, and Payment Cards. With this partnership, which also seeks to boost intra-African trade and commerce, cardless withdrawal services can be facilitated at ATMs, as well as Mobile Loans and Savings.

“We are very excited about this partnership with Airtel that will see the introduction of innovative solutions in the e-commerce space in Africa,” said Kennedy Uzoka, Group CEO, UBA Africa. “The rich bouquet of mobile-based services which we will be introducing under the partnership will not only support financial inclusion across Africa, it will also improve trade and break barriers of doing business on the continent.”

According to the CSR Journal, the mobile phone has the potential to transform the developing world, most especially Africa, in ways that the green and industrial revolutions failed. This bold assertion is hinged on the reasoning that the mobile phone has been able to short-cut the infrastructural limitations that have hindered the developing world’s transformational agenda for many years.

The Harvard Business Review says three distinct factors are driving this unprecedented surge of mobile banking on the African continent. First is the desire for financial inclusion which has evolved into a regional theme with countries like Nigeria, Africa’s Largest Economy, targeting an 80 percent financial services penetration index by 2020. Secondly, the need to lower the costs and risks of retail and trading based on cash has pushed Africans to adopt the mobile approach. Finally, the introduction of cashless policies in countries like Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya is a key enabler of this phenomenon.

As the continent remains a leading destination for investment and global business, more Multinational Organizations are expected to cash in on the potentials of the entire Financial Services value chain in creating wealth for themselves and value for their customers.