MTN, the largest wireless carrier in Africa, announced that Mastercard will be acquiring a minority stake in its financial technology business. The company estimates the value of the business at $5.2 billion. This partnership reflects the growing trend of Africa’s young and tech-savvy population using mobile phones for various services like banking. The fintech sector has seen a surge in startups like Flutterwave Inc. and Interswitch, focusing on mobile payment systems. MTN’s competitors, including Airtel Africa, Safaricom, and Vodacom, are also transitioning from basic voice and text services to digitalization in order to monetize their businesses in the long run. Airtel has already brought in Mastercard as an investor in its mobile-money unit. MTN has plans to raise R25 billion from asset sales, including the sale of South African mobile-phone towers and some of its West African assets. The company also has a stake in New York-listed tower owner IHS Holding Ltd., which it may sell in the future. In order to access reliable journalism and support democracy, readers can subscribe for 14 free days, and thereafter be billed R75 per month.
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