Mapping Financial Access Points in Lesotho

Measurement of financial inclusion (FI) has been informed by indicators of barriers to financial services (access), benchmarking and monitoring levels of uptake, assessing levels of usage, monitoring the quality of services provided and diagnosing the financial health of users.

Countries with explicit FI policies tend to develop monitoring and evaluation frameworks which in turn is supported by a data framework. This ensures the availability of the relevant data required to populate the metrics of concern to FI stakeholders. The units of measure of FI include users (individuals and businesses), financial access points (branches, agent locations), and reports on complaints resolution, spending on financial literacy programmes to name a few and they all have different sources.

Lesotho has been able to draw on data sources that provide insights on the demand side (consumer and MSME FinScopes), but to date there has been little credible information about the physical location of financial access points aside from the brick and mortar channels of bank branches. The SIMM technical committee (Lesotho Scaling Inclusion through Mobile Money project) and FinMark Trust believe that spatial data, or location data is key to understanding which parts of the population have access to services and understanding real-world drivers of the distribution services. Together, we have embarked on a project to map all financial access points in Lesotho, making it one of the few countries in sub-Sahara Africa with GPS-linked information of unique financial access points similar to the Financial Service Points (FSP) Maps that are available for Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

Together, we have embarked on a project to map all financial access points in Lesotho, making it one of the few countries in sub-Sahara Africa with GPS-linked information of unique financial access points

The Financial Access Points (FAP) mapping project in Lesotho was conducted between December 2017 and March 2018. During this period, the data collection service provider (BrandWorx) located 5,597 financial access points to form a baseline of spatially representable information. These FAPs included mobile money agents, commercial bank branches, ATMs, POS terminals, MFI branches, Insurance providers, Post Offices, Post Agencies and Moneylenders. Further analysis conducted by FinMark Trust revealed market gaps by overlaying the geospatial data on FAPs, with contextual data such as population density, small business density, mobile coverage data, amongst others. In addition, the analysis provided credible and internationally recognised metrics for measuring proximity to FAPs such as population density per financial access points, percentage of population within 5 km of a financial access point, and other location intelligence metrics instrumental to Financial Inclusion Monitoring and Evaluation.

The Lesotho FAP maps allow SIMM and other stakeholders to:

  • Gain comprehensive location information on financial access points;
  • Allow Financial Services Providers (FSPs) to adapt operational strategies to serve more remote locations;
  • Allow the exploration of the potential growth of real economy via safe and convenient payment systems; and
  • Provide the opportunities for improved Know Your Customer (KYC) reporting processes.


Figure 1: Distribution of All FAP’s in Lesotho (Source: FinMark Trust)

For more information contact


Nikki Kettles
Head of the SADC Financial Inclusion Programme
Email: nikkik@finmark.org.za
Tel: +27 (0) 11 315 9197