GHANAIAN- born Phillip Amoateng, who was this week presented to the media as the new managing director of Vodacom Lesotho, has set his sights on consolidating the usage of the M-Pesa platform in the country.
The mobile money platform, which was introduced in the country in 2013, has significantly improved the lives of many Basotho by affording them financial inclusion.
When it was introduced in 2013, the platform had basic services such as sending money and buying airtime. It introduced bill payments in 2014 and introduced international payments where customers are able to receive money from South Africa in 2015. Airtime to M-Pesa, a world’s first innovative service to convert airtime into M-Pesa was introduced in 2015. Paying school fees and bulk payments for institutions also followed soon afterwards.
The platform currently has over 800 000 registered users.
Addressing the local media for the first time on Friday, Mr Amoateng said he was not satisfied with manner in which the Lesotho market is utilising the facility.
He said despite the convenience that it brings, the platform is still underutilized and he believes the company needs to do more in terms of raising awareness about the benefits of using M-Pesa.
“The convenience of using M-Pesa is so great that I sometimes wonder why some people on the network are only using it for voice and data yet they do not have M-Pesa,” Mr Amoateng said.
“My view is that as a company we haven’t convinced customers that much because if you do it once, you will love it because it makes life so easy for everyone.
“So, one of the areas that I am going to focus on during my stay is to ensure that everyone on our network and even beyond uses M-Pesa.”
As is the Group policy, Mr Amoateng who started work on the first day November this year, is expected to hold the position for the next two years.
He said using M-Pesa is necessary due to the impending evolution of money. Mr Amoateng said the evolution where nobody will be using the physical paper money can be a reality within the next 10 years.
“Ten years is even too far, because first of all it costs governments a lot of money to produce the paper money.
“Again, it is not nice to hold the piece of paper called money. Why don’t we keep our monies on the phone? Today we are talking crypto currency and (such other forms of money) will (soon) be available on the phone.”
He said he would also be working with the government to help it digitise its systems to improve efficiency adding that “this will also ensure that M-Pesa usage is valuable because “the last leg of any transaction is payment”.
“One of my tasks will be working very closely with the government to ensure that when you want your birth certificate for example, the only time you will go to the ministry is when you are going to collect it.”
He said digitising systems would significantly reduce the time people spend at government offices to seek services. Mr Amoateng said this is already happening in other African countries with the Rwandan government having up to 79 services offered online.
He previously managed Airtel Rwanda before taking up the Vodacom Lesotho gig.
“So, we are going to ensure that all its services are digitised and that customers should use time to go and queue at the government offices to do something else beneficial,” Mr Amoateng said.