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Letshego reports double digit growth

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Letshego Holdings Limited has delivered satisfactory results that have yielded good growth at half year for the period ended 30th June 2017. This has seen growth in loans and operating income with Ghana featuring first time since the 100 percent Afb Ghana acquisition in March 2017. The Group’s strategic agenda to build Africa’s leading inclusive finance group, is underpinned by embedding future capability with investment in people and systems to enhance customer experience. Financial highlights for the six months ended 30th June 2017 show total assets increase by 16 percent to P8.7billion from P7.3billion in the same reporting period in 2016.

Profit before tax was P498million, a 2 percent increase from P489million in 2016 and total revenues exceeded the P1.2billion representing a 15 percent increase. The group has declared a dividend of 8.5 thebe per share retaining a 50 percent dividend payout ratio. Group Managing Director, Chris Low commented, “Our most recent acquisition in Ghana is already demonstrating positive results in integration and growth potential, and brings Letshego’s footprint to a total of eleven Sub Saharan markets. “Our positive loan growth will continue to benefit from our increasing diversification into savings solutions, with successful pilot launches in Tanzania and Nigeria’s education and housing sectors.

“Our award-winning agency model currently being rolled out in Mozambique is evidence of our commitment to extending our reach into the most rural areas.” Letshego’s drive to diversify its solutions across existing markets is gaining traction, with a number of educational facilities in Tanzania and Nigeria now enjoying both credit and savings solutions. The Group’s agency network in Mozambique and Tanzania uses a number of different business models, with the aim of increasing access points for customers wherever they may be located.

Mozambique is the first market to pilot ‘Blue Box’, a technology-driven agency banking model which uses biometric authentication to on-board customers, while providing both saving and loan solutions for the under-served community. Low added, “Strategic partnerships remain an important catalyst to achieving our expansion ambitions within all of our markets. “In Rwanda and Ghana for example, we have partnered with a fintech business and local mobile operators to pilot projects which stand to reach many thousands of new customers.

“Home improvement and affordable housing now constitutes 5 percent of our total loan portfolio, a percentage we aim to raise in the medium to long term.” Letshego group’s consumer lending segment is 88 percent of the overall loan portfolio with MSE (micro and small enterprises) at 12 percent. Loans and advances to customers are up 19 percent in Pula terms year-on-year (14 percent excluding Ghana), supported by stable interest margins and cost of funding. The quality of the loan book remains at targeted levels with the exception of Rwanda, where the group has taken additional provisions on a specific segment of the loan portfolio.

Customer deposits grew marginally, however the impact of Letshego customer savings solutions is only expected to reflect in subsequent reporting periods. Letshego introduced new funding lines resulting in a 45 percent increase in borrowings, and a strong funding pipeline is in place to support the business growth going forward. Letshego continues to work towards delivering a meaningful and positive impact for customers and communities, as well as returns for shareholders. The Group’s recently launched campaign entitled ‘Improving Life,’ rewards and celebrates customers for productive and responsible financial behaviour. Letshego remains committed to providing simple, appropriate and accessible solutions to the financially under-served, in a sustainable manner.

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Matambo calls on financial sector to pick GDP

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Finance Minister, kenneth Matambo

Finance Minister Kenneth Matambo has announced that government is committed to support financial service sector to prop up the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Currently contributing over 13 percent to GDP, Matambo said the sector has potential to increase its share. “Hence government’s interest in the sector,” said Matambo addressing delegates at the inaugural Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL), Global Financial Summit.

The country has built a strong, resilient and fast growing financial sector underpinned by a robust regulatory framework. The finance minister who is expected to step down next year, noted that government’s commitment to the financial service sector has this year been buttressed by a number of laws passed in July relating to money laundering activities.

In addition, Matambo said the continued investment in the development of information, communication and technologies (ICTs) backbone infrastructure is also to support local banks’ rising appetite for online services.

The Minister said the country remains committed to maintaining micro-economic stability to spur private sector participation in the economy. “Our vision is to become a high income country by 2036,” said Matambo, challenging the private sector to step forward and help government to develop the country, bemoaning the low levels of financial inclusion and shallow domestic capital markets.

He said the private sector should come up with more initiatives to develop further the local capital markets. The Minister’s sentiments were also shared by Martin Davies, Managing Director for Emerging Markets and Africa at Deloitte who has challenged the country to start dealing with its low manufacturing value add.

“How do we start to diversify beyond the single commodity economy,” quizzed Davies, adding that manufacturing increase is vital for low inequality across the country.

“Inequality results in bad public policy, as the state starts to believe and think they have to intervene more,” said Davies, highlighting that the country needs to move away from the absolute concept of state drive growth. Meanwhile, minister Matambo has applauded the private sector for leading economic dialogue in the country through events such as the BIHL Global Finance Summit.

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First Lady advises women entrepreneurs

Keikantse Lesemela

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First lady, Neo Masisi

First Lady, Neo Masisi has urged women entrepreneurs to bring change in the economic development of the country and the rest of Africa.

Speaking during the Lioness Lean in Africa breakfast on Friday, Masisi said women entrepreneurs are remarkable engines of economic growth and job creation. “I believe women entrepreneurs hold incredible potential and credentials on the continent because Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world.

It is projected that millions of much needed jobs will be created over the next decade and these will be created predominantly through small businesses which are mostly run by women,” said Masisi.She highlighted that women entrepreneurs are also the most powerful engine for equitably distributing growth and they are also solutions for addressing inequality on the continent.

“It is a proven fact that for many generations, women understand the simple concept of barter and commerce. These are the role models of our past and our present and they will continue to inspire new generations to do more for business to grow,” she said.

The Lioness Lean In Breakfast Series brings together inspirational and successful women entrepreneurs to share, inspire and connect with the next generation of great women-led start-ups.

The platform is based on a breakfast networking and speaker presentation format, which has been organized in locations across the African continent for the past year by Lionesses of Africa, empowering over one million women entrepreneurs across the continent.

Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of Personal Markets, Omphemetse Dube said they are pleased to bring the Lionesses of Africa Lean In platform to Botswana once again to bring together women entrepreneurs in the country and help to nurture their growth further.

“Botswana is blessed with a number of thriving female entrepreneurs, and the potential for the next generation of talent is strong. Platforms such as this are therefore paramount in growing the cause and we as a bank are proud to help champion that movement further,” said Dube.

Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa,Melanie Hawken noted that Gaborone is a growing and exciting centre for women’s entrepreneurship in Africa. “This is a must-attend event for women entrepreneurs in the country as it gives them the opportunity to hear the inspiring entrepreneurial stories of women who are building great businesses here,” she said.

The annual Lionesses of Africa event allows entrepreneurs to benefit from the insights and advice of women entrepreneurs who have seen and experienced it all and to also provide an excellent opportunity for networking.

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