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Breaking: CBN grants Airtel full super agent license

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has awarded Airtel Mobile Commerce Nigeria Ltd, a subsidiary of Airtel Africa Plc, the full super agent license to operate as an agency network.

This was disclosed in a press release titled “NIGERIA SUPER AGENT FULL LICENSE APPROVAL” signed by Simon O’Hara, the Company Secretary.

This comes after MTN Nigeria obtained Final Approval from the CBN to operate as Payment Service Bank.

The super agent licence is distinct from the Payment Service Bank (PSB) licence for which MTN received approval in principle on November 4, 2021.

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Super agents are businesses that have been licensed by the CBN to recruit agents for agency banking, which involves providing financial services to communities on behalf of banks in order to increase financial inclusion.

What Airtel Africa is saying

The statement filed with the NGX reads, “Further to our announcement of 15 November 2021, Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, today confirms that the Central Bank of Nigeria (‘CBN’) has awarded its subsidiary, Airtel Mobile Commerce Nigeria Ltd, with a full super agent licences.”

The company, in the statement, did not state specifically when operations in that regard would resume but however stated that, “The licence allows us to create an agency network that can service the customers of licenced Nigerian banks, payment service banks and licenced mobile money operators in Nigeria.”

What you should know

  • Under the super-agent licence, Airtel 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.
  • Airtel needs the PSB license to conduct financial services in Nigeria, such as accepting cash deposits, processing payments and remittances, issuing debit and prepaid cards, running electronic wallets, and other financial services.
  • Earlier this month, the CBN granted Airtel Africa’s competitor and industry peer, MTN final approval to start banking operations as Momo PSB.
  • According to the apex bank guidelines, the primary goal of giving PSB licenses is to increase financial inclusion, particularly in rural regions, and to make transactions easier.
  • The Payment Service Banks are expected to function in rural regions and in areas where Nigerians do not have bank accounts.
  • In addition, they are expected to secure at least 50% physical access points in rural areas. These access points could be kiosks.

Also, PSBs may operate ATMs in some of their locations which will enable their customers to withdraw cash.

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