Airtel Secures Super Agent Licence from CBN

By Dipo Olowookere

The financial inclusion space in Nigeria is getting more interesting and widened with the granting of a super agent licence to Airtel Africa Plc by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Airtel Africa, which is listed on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, secured this latest approval from the nation’s banking industry regulator through its subsidiary, Airtel Mobile Commerce Nigeria Limited.

The firm disclosed in a notice to the exchange on Monday that the authorisation is in principle as it awaits the final approval when it satisfies “certain standard conditions.”

Recall that nearly two weeks ago, Airtel Africa announced that Airtel Nigeria also obtained approval in principle from the apex bank to operate as a Payment Service Bank (PSB).

The PSB licence allows the company to operate almost like a bank as it can accept cash deposits, payments and remittances, issue debit and prepaid cards, operate electronic wallets and render other financial services.

However, with the super-agent licence, the organisation can only employ people who would provide some financial services for customers of banks and mobile money operators licenced by the CBN like a third party.

Airtel Africa, in the disclosure signed by its Group Company Secretary, Mr Simon O’Hara, stated that, “Its subsidiary, Airtel Mobile Commerce Nigeria Ltd, has been granted approval in principle by the Central Bank of Nigeria to operate as a super-agent in Nigeria.

“The super-agent licence is distinct from the Payment Service Bank (PSB) licence, for which we received approval in principle on November 4, 2021. The PSB licence is required for Airtel to be able to provide financial services in Nigeria such as accepting cash deposits and carrying out payments and remittances, issuing debit and prepaid cards, operating electronic wallets and rendering other financial services.

“Under the super-agent licence, we would be able to create an agent network that can service the customers of licensed Nigerian banks, payment service banks and licenced mobile money operators in Nigeria.

“Final approval of the super-agent licence is subject to the group satisfying certain standard conditions.”

Airtel Africa is one of the leading providers of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries across Africa.

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