‘Mobile money system a game changer’
CENTRAL Bank of Lesotho (CBL) Governor Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane says the entrance of telecoms operators in the mobile money transfer sector had been a game changer with up to 70 percent of Basotho now able to access financial services.
Dr Matlanyane made the remarks while officially launching the Global Money Week 2015 commemorations on Monday in Maseru.
Global Money Week is an international public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances.
The campaign is aimed at improving financial awareness and literacy through activities that give public information on all finance-related issues such as banking, insurance, microfinance and mobile money.
Running from 13 to 25 April 2015, the campaign will also see officials from the CBL and other stakeholders in the financial services sector visiting 80 schools in the Maseru district and making presentations.
According to Dr Matlanyane, the CBL is supporting financial institutions inclusive of mobile network companies who have integrated financial services into their operations to ensure the unbanked populace can access and transfer money.
“A large part of the population had for a long time been excluded financially, but recent statistics have shown an improvement in that sector,” said Dr Matlanyane.
“Close to 70 percent now have access to financial services, including the insurance sector, which has allowed accessibility for people who do not hold bank accounts.
“Mobile network companies have become important players in the financial services sector and we depend on their technology. The CBL is supporting them to ensure their products are safe for consumers.”
The apex bank chief added that the main intention of the Global Money Week 2015 campaign was to raise awareness of the importance of financial education and inclusion for children and youth whose minds, she said, can easily grasp the initiatives.
Dr Matlanyane said the CBL is also advocating for its long-term programme, the Financial Education Strategy, to be incorporated in the curriculums of primary and secondary schools.
The more comprehensive education pro- gramme, Dr Matlanyane said, is meant to ensure financial literacy for young people so that they don’t struggle with debt which has negative repercussions on their development and well-being.
A representative of the CBL’S interim Steering Committee of Financial Education, Mamalala Sematlane, said the decision to lobby for the inclusion of financial education into schools’ curriculum came after the realisation that many people were still drowning in debt because they lacked the knowledge to manage their money.
“We feel that incorporating financial education into schools would give children a better understanding of the appropriate way to handle money from an early age,” Ms Sematlane said.
“We will have a consultant who is going to identify what needs to be introduced in the current curriculum to allow for this.
“We have realised that many people are currently drowning in loans which they can no longer afford to pay back.
These problems are mostly caused by lack of knowledge on how to manage one’s finances, especially when people borrow money from informal loan schemes which have very high interest rates.”
CBL Governor Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane