SLB launches Unayo

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Bereng Mpaki

STANDARD Lesotho Bank (SLB) has launched Unayo (meaning ‘you have it’), its new community level digital financial platform.

Launched in Maseru this week, Unayo is meant to deepen financial inclusion while decreasing physical cash handling.

The platform allows people and businesses to transact with ease using their mobile phones either via an application, SMS or dialing *388#.

Unayo was launched in the presence of SLB chief executive officer, Anton Nicolaisen; head of client solutions, Thabiso Tsenki; and acting head of branding and marketing, Manyathela Kheleli at Avani Lesotho.

The bank described Unayo as a one-stop platform that combines mobile money, mobile banking and telecommunications functions to provide a holistic solution in one platform.

Like mobile money systems, Unayo still uses exiting community-based merchants as agents for performing different transactions such as sending money, withdrawing money, paying for goods as well as transferring funds from an Unayo account to different bank accounts among others.

Its transactions are secured through the generation of unique vouchers or QR codes.

Unayo is a business platform that will facilitate different parties to share and generate value for one another,” SLB’s head of digital banking and transformation, Bright Pita, said during the launch.

“With this platform, we are moving banking away from the brick and mortar banks to a community-based solution. Through the platform, we are saying how do we connect the community and be available in the remote areas of the country for every Mosotho?”

While the solution is open to everyone who will find it useful, Mr Pita said they were especially targeting the unbanked population who are often far away from centralised service centres.

“As the term suggests, Unayo means ‘you have it’. Giving people access to basic financial services without having to deal with the day-to-day pain points of having to make money, get money, and send money.

Unayo has made it possible for anyone to transact using a mobile phone by simply dialing *388# or downloading the app with menu options available in English and Sesotho. Self-on-boarding to the platform has been made even easier as there is no requirement to physically provide KYC paperwork.”

“As a financial services provider, we are constantly trying to find new ways to deliver our brand promise by enabling business growth and empowering our communities. The arrival of Unayo addresses the need for financial inclusion in our country and has given us the opportunity to increase customer-centricity, by continuing to engage and give impeccable service to all.”

He said some of the benefits of Unayo were reduced transactional costs and shortened physical branch barriers. He said the platform was aimed at bridging the divide between under-served African communities that have always remained disenfranchised with regards to inclusive financial services.

Already operational in Botswana, Malawi and eSwatini with more country deployments to follow, Mr Pita estimated that the platform would in the next three years be facilitating 90 percent of Africa’s payments.

“In the first quarter of 2021, Unayo has already processed over 60 000 payments. With its multiple function model which boasts USSD, smart phone technology and application capabilities, Unayo holds a unique position to unwrap a punctual economic transformation and revive local financial transactional activities. Thus, increased prosperity and global market competitiveness.

“Transacting on Unayo is safe and easy. It can be done from anywhere and anytime from a smartphone or feature phone,” Mr Pita said.

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