‘Financial inclusion key to arresting poverty’


Maseru -Financial education, literacy programmes and similar activities will broaden inclusivity so that the majority of people can benefit from the latest innovations in the financial sector, including digital finances heralded through mobile money, Central Bank of Lesotho Governor Dr Rets’elisitsoe Matlanyane, has said. Such programmes will also stimulate economic growth and encourage many people to move away from illegal financial schemes which are driven in multiple forms such as Ponzi schemes, unlawful foreign exchange traders and mobile money based illegal schemes.

The governor revealed during the Lesotho Money Month Campaign wrap up meeting on Wednesday this week, further disclosing the event has grown since its inception in 2013. The focal areas of the 2018 campaign included budgeting, savings, investing, avoiding investment in risky emergent opportunities, debt management and avoidance of borrowing from unlicensed entities with excessively high interest.

“This year the campaign focused on the district of Thaba-Tseka and this is partly because for a long time they have not been within the formal sector and that there is sizeable production occurring in the rural areas, be it diamond mining or production of wool and mohair. “It is therefore fitting that we deemed it necessary to also divert our attention towards empowering communities in these areas so that they can be able to manage their finances efficiently, thus growing their businesses, communities and families,” Matlanyane said during the meeting.

This year, under the theme “Money Matters Matter” the governor took the opportunity to reiterate previous statements that Basotho should avoid the risk of borrowing money from informal institutions and making investments in get-rich-quick schemes. “No Mosotho should be cheated by any of those Ponzi schemes or illegal forex traders anymore. It is equally important for our people to keep money safely in legally registered institutions and safe in similarly registered and properly supervised entities. Our people should invest in formal markets where institutions are operating within the parameters of the laws of the country,” Central Bank governor added.

The Bankers Association of Lesotho Chairperson Mpho Vumbukani emphasized in his remarks that financial inclusion is important for different sectors of society hence a need for the campaign to target other sectors that were not included this year. Vumbukani also noted that financial education should start at a very young age so that children grow up well informed about financial issues.

“Financial inclusion should actually be included in our school curricula so that these kids learn from a very young age, in this way they will be able to differentiate between formal and informal sectors by the time they are in a position to make money,” Vumbukani said.

The Money Month Campaign is derived from the Global Money Week initiative which is led by the Child and Youth Finance International. Globally, every year a week is dedicated to inspire children and youth to learn about money matters and improve their entrepreneurship skills and livelihoods. More than 160 countries, including Lesotho, take part in the campaign.


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