MASERU – Mpesa, an initiative by the local telecommunication giant Vodacom Lesotho, has made significant progress in the country since it was first introduced in 2013.
Mpesa has registered substantial growth with the total number of transactions now worth over M5.4 million on a monthly basis and rapidly growing from month to month, the company has said.
Despite a number of unprecedented challenges, the initiative that has contributed tremendously towards safeguarding financial inclusion in the country has further managed to reach almost 25 percent of the country’s population estimated to be around 2.2 million from figures of the recent census.
Based on their own statistics, the company further revealed that a quarter of the country’s population is currently using the Mpesa service and transacting on a monthly basis.
“Through various initiatives, we manage to bring on board an average of around 20,000 customers, this would translate to around a quarter of a million on an annual basis. Mpesa has proven to be exponentially appealing to our fellow Basotho and, as a result, more and more people are taking to using the platform as part of their daily lives,” said Malatola Phothane from Vodacom Lesotho’s Mpesa department.
Vodacom Mpesa subscribers are able to easily send and receive money through the use of a cellphone. It also allows its clients to convert cash into mobile money as well as withdraw cash at any authorised Mpesa outlet.
The company introduced conversion of airtime to Mpesa in 2015 which, according to them, was the world’s first innovation.
Some of the benefits of Mpesa include but are not limited to the fact that there are no monthly charges while also allowing one to pay bills and utilities in their own good time. Clients are also able to store and save money for future use.
“We are trying to improve the lives of Basotho through Mpesa, the aim is to simplify the manner in which each and every Mosotho accesses money and the manner in which they transact with or without a bank account.
“Previously excluded members of the population who could not access financial services, particularly those in rural areas, are now able to do so without having to travel long distances,” Phothane said in an interview with Public Eye recently.
Notwithstanding an impressive record over the past five years of existence, Vodacom’s Mpesa has had to deal with some challenges that includes people’s resistance to change and numerous fraud cases.
The company’s representatives revealed in an interview with Public Eye that at one point some customers took advantage of others by defrauding them.
“Some customers and agents took advantage of others by sending them false SMSs pretending they have sent money into their accounts by mistake.
“The perpetrators would then call the victims in a move to reclaim their money when in fact they never send them anything. However, we were able to deal with the challenge through different awareness campaigns on different social platforms as well as vigorous training and financial education programmes,” Phothane further added.
Going forward the telecommunications company has promised that more innovations are yet to come regarding the Mpesa service. Recently the company has engaged in another impressive deal with Standard Lesotho Bank to enable real time transfer of funds.
Through this partnership, subscribers are able to move funds from their bank card to their Mpesa account, raising their participating in the global digital economy.