After the Nigerian government approved last year to allow telecom companies to offer banking services, MTN Nigeria Communications PLC, subsidiary of MTN, announced it was able to get green light from Nigeria’s central bank to offer financial services.

This step will enable Nigerians without bank accounts to have access to mobile money services.

South Africa's MTN Group, which owns a majority stake in MTN Nigeria, had said it would apply for a mobile banking license in Nigeria and hoped to launch the service in 2019.

In May, MTN Nigeria listed in Lagos with a $6.54bn at the time debut that turned it into the Nigerian Stock Exchange’s second-largest stock by market value.

MTN Nigeria CEO Ferdi Moolman praised that the company’s Yello Digital Financial Services Limited (YDFS) unit had been allocated a ‘full super-agent’ license by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Moolman says, “Through the network established by YDFS, MTN is in a position to broaden the availability of financial services for the underserved across the country”.

“This marks a very important first step in leveraging our infrastructure to scale our fintech initiatives. We have also applied for a Payment Service Bank License, which will enable us in time to offer a broader and deeper range of financial services to those communities and we remain hopeful we will receive approval shortly.”

MTN is Nigeria’s biggest mobile phone network, serving around 56 million people.

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