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Airtel Africa Raises $200m For its Mobile Money Business

Airtel African has secured a $200 million investment for its mobile money business from Qatar Holding LLC, an affiliate of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar, with over $300 billion in assets. 

The new funding is coming few months after Mastercard agreed to pump $100 million into telecom operator’s mobile miney arm.

According to a statement released by the telecoms operator, the proceeds of the investment will be used to reduce debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure in operating countries.

The deal will close in two tranches — $150 million invested at the first close, most likely in August. The remaining $50 million will be invested at the second close.

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Airtel Africa claims QIA will hold a minority stake while it continues to hold the majority stake. This transaction still values Airtel Africa at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt-free basis. However, what’s different this time is that QIA is entitled to appoint a director to AMC BV’s board and “to certain customary information and minority protection rights.

AMC BV is the Airtel Africa subsidiary and the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations across 14 African countries, including Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria.

Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud, CEO of QIA, said the sovereign wealth fund’s investment in Airtel Africa would help promote financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa. 

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“Airtel Money plays a critical role in facilitating economic activity, including for customers without access to traditional financial services. We firmly believe in its mission to expand these efforts over the coming years,” he added.

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