Vodacom sets up financial services  company

Vodacom sets up financial services company

MASERU – VODACOM Lesotho has set up its M-Pesa division as a separate business unit to be known as VCL Financial Services.
The new company was unveiled on Monday.
The Managing Director of Vodacom Lesotho, Mohale Ralebitso, said through M-Pesa they were able to transform the lives of people especially those who were unable to transact.

“M-Pesa has come as a revolutionary financial service and driver of financial inclusion and economic empowerment,’’ Ralebitso said.
Ralebitso said initially there were only two products available, now they offer everything from savings and insurance products to cross-border transfers and ticketing, amongst others.
He said their aim is to ensure that every Mosotho is financially included.

Ralebitso said M-Pesa mobile money service is playing a significant role in allowing every Mosotho no matter their station in life to transact.
He said the growing of mobile money is not only helping people but is also stirring up economic growth.
“Mobilisation of money allows the circulation of money amongst people hence the economic growth,’’ he said.
Ralebitso said this is not only allowing people to transact but also to save.
He said he is looking forward to seeing every Mosotho being financially included.

The chairperson of the Board of Directors, Lebola Lebete, said 2021 is a momentous year for Vodacom Lesotho as they celebrate 25 years of existence.
“We are proud to record significant milestones during that period of unprecedented growth,’’ he said.
He said in 1996 when Vodacom Lesotho started its operations in Lesotho, mobile communications technologies were fast taking the world by storm but were still not fully understood and appreciated in Lesotho.

Lebete said as time went by Vodacom Lesotho soon rebranded itself from ‘Vital Cellular Link’ in order to not only reflect these developments as a distinct company but also to mirror its identity as a global player.
“We increased our mobile penetration by improving our technical, operational and commercial infrastructure and systems to provide better services and products,” he said.
Lebete said as a leading driver of Lesotho’s digital progress, Vodacom Lesotho has ensured that Basotho receive uninterrupted world class services through the deployment of cutting-edge technology that is compatible with the best in the world.

As a driver of digital inclusion, Lebete said they are conscious to make sure that every Mosotho becomes an important player, contributor and beneficiary of digital conveniences.
He said they are keen to progressively remove barriers to digital inclusion be it accessibility or availability of affordability.
Lebete said they have invested heavily in their central business operations but also enhanced their external social networks that support their contributions to national, corporate and social needs.

He said their policies ensure that their compliance to relevant laws and policies is not only accurate and meticulous but also enhances the spirit and intent of those instruments to achieve a higher goal of enhancing the quality of national corporate governance and accountability systems.
Lebete said following this, the Board of Directors took a conscious decision to recommend the separation of M-Pesa operations to effectively satisfy the dual purpose of complying with regulatory requirements as well as enhancing the design of financial services unit.

The Executive Director of M-Pesa, Palesa Mphunyetsane, said the entity was authorised by the Central Bank and it is fully owned by Vodacom Lesotho.
Mphunyetsane said ever since M-Pesa was launched in 2013, it has grown from only 1 900 registered customers to over a million, with monthly transaction values surpassing a billion maloti.
Mphunyetsane said they now have over 8 000 agents and more than 3 000 merchants across the country.
She said M-Pesa was started by two people but it has now grown into a team of 24 people.

Mphunyetsane said the move enables the brand to further diversify its product offering, with the aim of becoming a fully-fledged financial services institution.
She said this will bring more solutions to the market, helping to address a number of societal challenges regarding payments and collections.
She said their focus will be on savings and investments whereby they will be lending solutions for individuals and small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs).
She said there will be payments and collections, and the digitisation of services.

“From a customer point of view, all branding, support structures, contacts and infrastructure will remain the same,” she said.
Mphunyetsane said Vodacom Financial Services will also place significant emphasis on ensuring that enhanced governance and controls are put in place, through the establishment of various departments, including risk, internal auditing, and anti-money laundering and by strengthening strategic partnerships with relevant institutions.

Mphunyetsane said Basotho have been able to send and receive money, buy airtime and bundles, pay for utility bills, create savings groups and perform international money transfers, all thanks to M-Pesa.
“We look forward to the next milestone in our journey and can’t wait for customers to see what our expanded solutions portfolio has to offer, and how it will transform their lives for the better,” she said.

Mphunyetsane said M-Pesa is currently Africa’s leading mobile money service with more than 430 000 active agents operating across the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Tanzania.

Refiloe Mpobole

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