Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


Sanlam and MTN team up to offer digital insurance and investments

Article Image
South African financial services group Sanlam and pan-African mobile operator MTN are joining forces in an exclusive strategic alliance to distribute insurance and investment products across Africa.

The new alliance will build a digital insurance and investment business, expanding on MTN's growing mobile financial services business.

The idea is to provide Africans with easier access to financial services, particularly the unbanked and those that have typically been unable to access traditional distribution channels.

While approximately 46% of Africa's population has access to and uses mobile phone services, insurance penetration remains low at less than 5% in most markets, except South Africa.

Fintech in focus

"This strategic alliance has the potential to change the face of insurance in Africa by leveraging the brand and reach of MTN, together with Sanlam's licensing, insurance expertise and extensive footprint. Through this partnership, we will develop and distribute a comprehensive range of insurance, investment and savings products to MTN customers using digital channels," MTN said.

MTN already has plans to structurally separate its fintech business and said the separation will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

MTN's insurtech business, through aYo, currently has 6.3 million active policies and it is targeting 30 million policyholders by 2025.

MTN's results for the six months to June 30, 2021 show that group fintech revenue grew by 22.6%, to R7.5 billion (US$508 million), and contributes 8.7% to overall group revenue.

Digital disruption

The alliance has ambitions to pre-empt and adapt to digital disruption in markets where both Sanlam and MTN operate.

The collaboration gives Sanlam the opportunity to extend consumer access to its products and grow its Africa operations by providing insurance to MTN's customer base across the continent. It also helps MTN provide more value-added services to its existing customers, enhancing its existing fintech offering.

"We are excited by MTN's development of modern mobile financial services for the benefit and empowerment of the African consumer. It gives us great pride to be able to partner with MTN to build the best possible range of solutions in the insurance and investment arena for consumers. We anticipate strong long-term growth in mobile financial services and insurance and investments are no exception to this," said Sanlam Group CEO Paul Hanratty in a statement.

MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita said the partnership was an opportunity to offer insurance and investment products tailored to the needs of the African consumer.

“Sanlam is the ideal partner as the leading insurance and investment business across Africa, and with partnership key to its strategic and execution approach. MTN has built a scale fintech business with over 100 million wallets, of which approximately half are actively using Mobile Money services every month, presenting a meaningful opportunity to further drive financial inclusion through the provision of appropriate insurance and investment solutions," Mupita added.

In the initial period, the alliance will be chaired by Mupita, with Hanratty as deputy chair.

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group now operates in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East and at the end of June 2021, had 277.3 million subscribers. It is also a large fintech operator, with a presence in 19 countries and 100 million wallets, 800,000 agents and 650,000 merchants signed up

Established in 1918 as a life insurance company, Sanlam has evolved into the largest non-banking financial services group in Africa with a presence in 33 countries across the continent.

Related posts:

*Top image source: created by senivpetro -

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Connecting Africa Podcast: Ep. 3 – Startups, funding and failing fast with Zachariah George

This week the team chats to Startupbootcamp AfriTech Co-Founder Zachariah George about venture capital and angel investing in Africa and what he is looking for in the next generation of tech startups.


Orange opens Digital Centers in Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon

Orange has launched two new Digital Centers, one in Côte d'Ivoire and another in Cameroon, with plans to open more in Africa this year and into 2022.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: September 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month's Omdia View covers Africell's Ugandan exit and MTC's Namibian stock exchange IPO; as well as Netflix's free Kenyan offering and a new broadband service in SA from Multichoice and MTN.


Omdia View: August 2021

By Omdia Analysts

Omdia's analysts provide context and analysis about MTN's decision to exit Syria and not bid again for an Ethiopian license, as well as 5G news from Mauritius, Ghana, Mayotte and Reunion.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives


Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.


Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.


How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Upcoming webinars

Meeting SME’s where they are - Building inclusive ecosystems for Africa’s small business owners

Micro and small businesses have been, and still are, the spine and lifeblood of the African economy, making up 90% of businesses on the continent.

Many of these businesses have still been operating in traditional ways and serving non-digital customers. With Covid-19 expediting the digital transformation process, businesses - big and small - have been forced to adapt to operate successfully in a more digital-first environment.

To ensure that the digitalization of Africa’s market doesn’t leave micro and small businesses behind, digital solutions must be inclusive and create business-ready environments. But how can we ensure that African SMEs become digitally enabled?

In this webinar we will share from our own experience on how to create such an environment, and the actions we took in vcita to get there, including:

  • Closing the digital literacy gap through tech inclusion 
  • Making a positive impact on local communities
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world

Register Here >>

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up