VODACOM Lesotho has established VCL Financial Services, an independent company to provide financial services to customers.
Vodacom’s popular M-Pesa mobile money platform will operate under the new company.
M- Pesa has attracted over 1 million subscribers and it handles an average of M1 billion per month since its inception in 2013.
New services to be offered under the new entity include micro loans for small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs), taking deposits from clients as well as offering insurance services.
Vodacom Lesotho managing director, Mohale Ralebitso, said that M-Pesa had played a significant role in increasing financial inclusion in the country.
“M-Pesa is a revolutionary financial service, a driver of financial inclusion and economic empowerment,” Mr Ralebitso said.
“The phenomenal growth of M-Pesa has resulted in the decision to separate it from Vodacom Lesotho’s GSM services to effectively satisfy the dual purpose of complying with regulatory requirements.
“This also enables us to enhance our financial services functions to make them more responsive, efficient and effective in addressing national and individual financial management needs. The new company design includes more efficient structures that will ensure compliance and good corporate governance practices.
“We also now have over 8 000 agents and more than 3 000 merchants across the country. Given M-Pesa’s phenomenal success, even against the backdrop of global economic decline, it was time to make M-Pesa an independent entity, ensuring that it is well-positioned to deliver on its growth ambitions.”
He said they will ensure that the new company has enhanced safety and controls for departments like risk, internal auditing and anti-money laundering.
The head of the VCL Financial Services Palesa Mphunyetsane said the establishment of the new company will enable them to further diversify their products.
“This will see us bringing more solutions to the market, helping to address a number of societal challenges regarding payments and collections.
“Our focus will be on savings and investments, lending solutions for individuals and (SMMEs), wealth management, payments and collections and the digitisation of services.
“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, through to M-Pesa.
“We look forward to the next milestone in our journey and we 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,” Ms Mphunyetsane said.
She said M-Pesa is Africa’s leading mobile money platform with more than 430 000 active agents operating across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Tanzania.
Vodacom Lesotho board chairperson, Leboela Lebete, said VCL Financial Services will enable the brand to comply with regulatory requirements while giving them leeway to improve their services.
“Our board of directors recommended a separation of M-Pesa operations to effectively satisfy the dual purpose of complying with our regulatory requirements as well as enhancing the design of our financial services.
“We aim at making the unit more responsive, efficient and effective in addressing national and individual financial management needs,” Mr Lebete said.