Letshego Holdings Limited, the pan-African BSE listed consumer lender says it is the first African private sector organisation to be granted alliance for Financial Inclusion partnership status.
The Alliance for Financial Inclusion is a network of financial inclusion policymakers whose core mission is to encourage the adoption of inclusive financial policies in developing nations. Letshego Group Managing Director Chris Low said the company has continued to engage with regulators and to be active in industry forums with the aim to facilitate greater public-private dialogue and socially responsible lending practices.
Low stated that AFI is a global network of financial policymakers from developing and emerging countries working together to increase access to financial services, bringing together policymakers and regulators from over 100 emerging market and developing countries.
“The partnership will allow us to continue strengthening relationships that promote financial inclusion policies and address implementation issues across sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.
He further stated that partnerships such as these, which bring together similar agendas, while playing to their respective strengths and creating momentum for growth and development in Africa, are central to the business ethic.
He is of the view that the Group will continue to seek new markets and opportunities for expansion and to deliver simple, appropriate and affordable products and services as determined by the customers’ wants and needs.
“We are looking to achieve good performance and growth in the advances book and profitability during the 2016 financial year, considering prevailing economic conditions and forecast opportunities for growth,” Low stated.
The Group MD spoke of Letshego’s experience in successfully establishing and growing businesses in diverse and challenging economic climates, which he said will be shared and advocated through AFI to enhance and inform policy decisions at a country level. He added that areas of commercially sustainable microfinance, digital financial services and data, measurements as well as trend identification offer significant opportunities for Letshego to share intellectual capital, while lobbying for enabling regulatory reforms.
“We have acquired extensive knowledge about our customers’ needs and uniquely combine a financially sustainable focus with a keen emphasis on improving life for those at the base of the economic pyramid that typically are underserved by traditional banks and lenders,” said Low.
He stated that the group now hold deposit taking licences in four markets – Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tanzania. He added that the successful conversion of the provisional deposit taking licence in Namibia is subject to finalisation of certain conditions set by the Bank of Namibia and is expected by mid-2016. Low stated that Letshego Namibia will look to leverage its formal salaried customer experience into the informal sector, deepening financial inclusion in Namibia over time.
“Capitalisation buffers remain well above regulatory requirements and funding continues to be a key area of focus. Capital management has mostly been centred on the optimal mix of debt and equity capital to support an expansionary business strategy and provide a higher return on equity to shareholders,” he stated.