Partnerships / Acquisitions

Western Union, Bharti Airtel Team For Real-Time Payments Across Africa, India

Western Union, Bharti Enable Real-Time Transfers

Western Union is partnering with global telecommunications firm Bharti Airtel for global money transfers across emerging markets in Africa and India, Western Union announced on Wednesday (Jan. 22).

The partnership with Airtel Africa will allow over 15 million Airtel Money mobile wallet users in Nigeria, Uganda, Gabon, Tanzania, Zambia, DRC, Malawi, Madagascar, Kenya, Congo, Niger, Tchad, Rwanda and Seychelles to route any money transfer received from across the world into their mobile eWallets. Airtel Payments bank customers will soon be able to direct Western Union money transfers into their bank accounts 24/7.

“The future of money transfer is about customer choice – allowing them to move money whenever, however and wherever they want,” said Hikmet Ersek, president and CEO of Western Union, speaking from the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Switzerland.

He added that their platform “cuts through the complexities” of cross-border transfers, allowing users to tap funds in real time and “in a manner that suits their local infrastructure” and appeals to their choices.

“Our platform offers multiple channel choice for our customers and the customers of our partners, including banks, FIs, telecom and FinTech players,” noted Ersek. “We applaud Airtel for their global vision of anticipating and leading change in the global digital landscape.”

At the annual forum, Ersek is participating in the panel “Leading a New Multilateralism,” along with Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor. The talk will discuss how emerging markets like India and Africa are changing the essence of multilateralism.

“Collaborating with Western Union on these two flagship initiatives in both India and Africa reflects Bharti Airtel’s keen commitment to transform[ing] the quality of lives of millions of people across emerging and developing markets, providing connectivity and digital empowerment,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal. “We are delighted to contribute to the development of a sound and inclusive payments ecosystem in emerging markets to spur financial inclusion and economic growth.”

In September, Western Union announced the expansion of its real-time global payments capabilities. Real-time, account-to-account transfers were made available to accounts or eWallets in 17 countries.

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