A subsidiary of MTN Nigeria Communications PLC has been granted the authorization by the country’s central bank in Abuja that would enable it to offer financial services.
Nigeria declared last year that it would enable telecom companies to offer banking services, intended to give millions of Nigerians without bank accounts access to mobile money services – which have been successful elsewhere in Africa.
South Africa’s MTN Group, which has a majority stake in MTN Nigeria, had said it would apply for a mobile banking license in Nigeria and hoped to launch the service in 2019.
MTN Nigeria CEO Ferdi Moolman confirmed on Monday that the company’s Yello Digital Financial Services Limited (YDFS) unit had been granted a “full super-agent” license by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Moolman stated, “Through the network established by YDFS, MTN is in a position to broaden the availability of financial services for the underserved across the country,” Moolman said. “This marks a very important first step in leveraging our infrastructure to scale our fintech initiatives. We have also applied for a Payment Service Bank License, which will enable us in time to offer a broader and deeper range of financial services to those communities and we remain hopeful we will receive approval shortly.”
MTN is Nigeria’s biggest mobile phone network, serving around 56 million people.