Celtel and Celpay in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Celtel International - the leading pan-African mobile communications group, with operations in 15 countries - entered the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2000, when the civil war was still raging. It faced a market with widespread insecurity, poverty, depleted human capacity and political and regulatory uncertainty. There was little or no infrastructure and no banking network. The potential customer base seemed very small, with few ways to reach out to them. Despite those obstacles, Celtel has gained more than 2 million customers in the country, allowing them communities previously isolated by war and poor infrastructure to exchange information. Celtel also established Celpay - previously part of Celtel and now owned by FirstRand Banking Group - as a mobile banking system to compensate for the lack of a national banking network. The case outlines each obstacle and details how the company addressed them.