Bharti Airtel, the leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Africa and Asia, announced at a media briefing held in the presence of the DRC Telecommunications Minister, Kin Kiey Mulumba and the Central Bank Governor, Deogratias Mutombo, that its mobile commerce service, Airtel Money, has hit the 1 million revenue-earning customers landmark in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The achievement is significant because DRC has the largest mobile-money potential in Africa outside Nigeria and Ethiopia, according to industry statistics.
With this development, DRC has emerged the only market in Africa - outside of the East African Community region and Zimbabwe - where mobile money has achieved scale.
Airtel Africa CEO, Christian de Faria said: "The importance of a safe, secure and convenient financial channel cannot be overstated in sub-Saharan Africa, where companies like Airtel are investing to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place, so economies can fully maximize existing and potential opportunities."
Alain Kahasha, the Managing Director for Airtel DRC said "this is a key milestone for Airtel Money and we are excited that the service is fast becoming helpful to driving DRC's economy and empowering people. I am pleased that, as we celebrate this achievement, DRC remains one of the markets where mobile money is making a socio-economic impact, pioneering services such as civil service salary payments in partnership with the government."
On its way to this achievement, Airtel DRC has established and expanded lasting partnerships with financial institutions to expand mobile money access resulting to a digital revolution in DRC. The size of scale and positive effect of mobile money benefit is now largely being felt by small and medium enterprises (SMES) contributing significantly to the growth of DRC's economy.
In December 2012, with the support from the DRC Government and in partnership with the Congolese Association of Banks and local banks, more than 1,100 policemen received their salaries through Airtel Money. The service has since been extended to hundreds of thousands of other civil servants including teachers and the military.
Airtel Money is a secure and convenient mobile commerce service that allows customers to transfer money between one mobile phone to the other across all networks, top up mobile phone with airtime or data or another customer's mobile phone. The service has reached low-income customers enabling them have access to convenient and affordable financial services.
The landmark comes exactly two weeks after Airtel Africa was awarded the Best Mobile Money Solution awards at a continental awards in Cape town, South Africa. The award was presented by an independent panel of industry experts from the prestigious AfricaCom awards.