Central Bank simplifies banking for Basotho



MASERU – Cashless money transactions are becoming more and more convenient with each passing day as the world continues to evolve. The Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) has embraced this fast-paced environment by launching Leswitch, a national digital payment switch, to promote financial inclusion and adjust to the evolving payment landscape.

Leswitch is created to link with different systems such as Point of Sales (POS), Automated Teller Machines (ATM), Mobile Payment Systems, and online commerce platforms in order to simplify electronic transactions and efficiently direct them to payment processors for authorization and settlement. The system was launched on Wednesday at an event held at Lehakoe Recreational Centre in Maseru.

According to Lehlomela Mohapi, the Deputy Governor of CBL, the concept of implementing a national payment switch system was conceived in 2018. Despite facing delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said the launch of this system is a significant achievement for Lesotho. He, however, said the launch is specifically aimed at marking the initial stage of LESwitch, which involves the participation of FINTECH and various mobile money operators like Khetsi, C-pay, M-Pesa, and others.

He further explained that this system enables mobile money operators to work together towards their common objective. “Any mobile money user can now perform transactions such as withdrawals, deposits, and transfers with other mobile money operators, regardless of the platform they use,” he said.

Lesole Polilane, a FINTECH representative, highlighted the platform’s role as a catalyst for transforming dynamic ecosystems, where mobile money operators come together to develop innovative solutions that empower both individuals and businesses. On the other hand, Dr Letete Maluke, the governor of the Central Bank of Lesotho, addressed the key issues targeted by LESwitch, focusing on security, speed, and the promotion of societal liberalization while combating money laundering. Maluke highlighted the system’s capability to tackle these challenges by enabling seamless money transfers from bank accounts to mobile money platforms like Ecocash. Despite a successful launch, Maluke acknowledged obstacles such as poor interoperability among operators hindering the effectiveness of the LESwitch system. The Central Bank of Lesotho aims to promote financial inclusion for rural communities, offering them opportunities for economic empowerment.

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