Ecobank and MTN to Launch Mobile Money Microloans in Guinea

Ecobank, MTN, Optasia, EMEA, partnerships

FinTech Optasia, Ecobank and MTN are partnering to launch a mobile money microloan service in Guinea.

In a Thursday (Jan. 26) press release, the Dubai-based FinTech announced that the services will be offered to MTN’s subscribers in the country under the Ecobank product name “Prêt Xpress.”

As part of the arrangement, Ecobank will provide the capital, MTN Mobile Money will power the loan disbursement, and Optasia’s artificial intelligence technology platform will power loan decisions.

The release added that this will be the first mobile money loan service offered by MTN in Guinea and launches a series of further deployments that Optasia and MTN will be rolling out in Uganda, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Benin and more.

“Expanding our offering to the people of Guinea through valued partners, MTN and Ecobank, is a significant step in our growth plan as a company,” Mark Muller, CEO at Optasia, said. “Such high-profile collaboration with our strategic partners reinforces our belief in driving financial inclusion.”

As well as offering micro-loans, Optasia works with mobile network operators to help them advance airtime and data allowances to their customers. For example, the company recently partnered with TNM Malawi to launch a new Advance Credit Service (ACS) in the country.

This is also not the first mobile money partnership for Ecobank.

In fact, as the pan-African bank’s FinTech lead, Djiba Diallo, told PYMNTS in an interview last year, such partnerships are an integral part of its strategy to reach underbanked consumers.

For example, she pointed to a partnership between Ecobank and the Togolese mobile money firm Semoa that leverages the bank’s infrastructure to give Semoa users greater access to cash services.

Previously, Semoa customers could only deposit of withdraw cash with one of the company’s agents, leaving cash services often inaccessible. Via the Ecobank partnership, users can top up or withdraw from their wallets using Ecobank’s network of ATMs or Xpress Point services.

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