Vodacom Lesotho restructures M-Pesa division under new financial services venture
Vodacom Lesotho has announced that its M-Pesa division will now operate under a newly set up, independent company known as VCL Financial Services.
According to information supplied by the company, the new venture has been authorised by the Central Bank and will be a licenced financial services provider, fully owned by Vodacom Lesotho.
Vodacom Lesotho says that M-Pesa has grown from only 1,900 registered customers to over 1 million, with monthly transaction values surpassing LSL1 billion.
Mohale Ralebitso, Managing Director for Vodacom Lesotho, says: “M-Pesa has come so far as a revolutionary financial service and driver of financial inclusion and economic empowerment. Initially, only two products were available, now we offer everything from savings and insurance products to cross-border transfers and ticketing, amongst others. What’s more, we 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, the natural next step was to make M-Pesa an independent entity, ensuring that it is well-positioned to deliver on its growth ambitions.”
According to Palesa Mphunyetsane, previous M-Pesa Executive Head, who is now VCL Financial Services Head, the move enables the brand to further diversify its product offering, with the aim of becoming a fully-fledged financial services institution.
“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 small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs); wealth management; 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.”
According to Vodacom, 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.
Adds Mphunyetsane, “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.”
M-Pesa has over 430,000 active agents operating across the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Tanzania.