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Qatar sovereign wealth fund unit invests $200 mln in Airtel mobile money firm

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Qatar Holding LLC, an arm of the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar has invested a total of $200 million in the mobile money unit of Airtel Africa Plc.

In a regulatory filing by the telecoms firm with the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX), Airtel said the proceeds of the investment will be used to reduce its debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure across its operating countries.

Qatar Holding LLC is an affiliate of the Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund of the State of Qatar with over $300 billion in assets.

The Middle Eastern corporation is set to invest $200 million into Airtel by buying secondary purchases of shares from Airtel Africa.

The Chief Executive Officer, QIA, Mansoor Al-Mahmoud, said “The sovereign’s wealth fund investment in Airtel Africa would help promote financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa.

Airtel Money plays a critical role in facilitating economic activity, including for customers without access to traditional financial services.

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“We firmly believe in its mission to expand these efforts over the coming years.”

The CEO, Airtel Africa, Raghunath Mandava, said the company was pleased to welcome QIA as a prospective investor in its mobile money business, joining both Mastercard and TPG’s The Rise Fund as a further partner “to help realise the full potential from the substantial opportunity to bank the unbanked across Africa.”

This is coming three months after Mastercard invested $100 million in the company’s mobile money business.

In March, Airtel signed an agreement under which The Rise Fund will invest $200 million in its mobile money subsidiary, Airtel Mobile Commerce (AMC) BV.

The telecom firm said the transaction with The Rise Fund, which is the global impact investing platform of leading alternative investment firm TPG, “is subject to customary closing conditions.”

Airtel aimed to deploy the proceeds of the transactions to reduce Group debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure.

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