Airtel Uganda has entered into a lucrative deal with a United Nations agency to close the access gap for financial services at least for one million new subscribers in northern Uganda.
On Thursday September 23, Airtel Uganda signed an agreement with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), a non-profit arm of the UNDP focussing of financial inclusion, to ensure that at least 1 million people in northern Uganda register with the money money.
The deal is good for the Telecom company since they are getting paid for a service they would ordinarily be glad to perform, but also because it expands their market reach.
The aim is to ensure that more people especially in underserved areas have access to platforms that allow them to save and invest their money.
Airtel’s Managing Director Manoj Muruli said that with efficient execution of the Uganda National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2017 – 2022, there is a need to improve access to mobile money services if the women, youth and rural populations at large are to be reached by services of the finance sector.
To achieve the target of one million new Airtel money subscribers, the partnership will support the recruitment of 300 new Airtel Money agents and 400 Airtel Pay merchants.
Murali, says this collaboration with the UN capital Development Fund will see the building of digital infrastructure in order to empower more Ugandans and micro-,small-,and medium-sized enterprises to lead productive and healthy lives by leveraging technology.
He adds that penetration of digital financial services into rural Uganda is often challenged by limited digital and financial infrastructure as well as inadequate access to affordable phones and the lack of relevant product offerings for women, youth, refugees and other vulnerable sectors of society.
“Our work with UNCDF, will enable us to deliver more service points in remote rural areas, helping to improve Uganda’s financial inclusion and driving digital growth for the wider economy.”-Murali notes
UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Digital Regional Manager, East and Southern Africa, Mike McCaffrey said while digital services are key in contributing to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals in Uganda and the world over, many people unfortunately still find it challenging to tap into this opportunity due to limited or lack of connectivity, devices, and client-centered digital services.
“By partnering with mobile telecom operators such as Airtel, UNCDF taps into the Market Systems Development approach to incentivize digital finance and digital innovation enablers to enter markets they may otherwise overlook.” –McCaffrey
McCaffrey also calls on the sector players to address market challenges like improving infrastructure for connectivity and efficiencies for mobile money agents, and merchant payment points.
This bold commitment builds on the ongoing collaboration with UNCDF in implementing the “Leaving No One Behind in the Digital Era” strategy launched in 2019.