Coordinating stakeholders to reduce the cost of remittances for women – The example of Lesotho

Remittances are one of the biggest vehicles to drive international development. It exceeds international aid flows – and as such, the cost of a sending remittances has a profound impact on how much money is available for people to feed their families, educate their children, and live a dignified life.

As a net sender of Remittances, South Africa is an important economic hub in Southern Africa, with over 4 million mainly economic migrants sending money home to loved ones and families. The lockdown and loss in employment hit the 63% of women that are the recipients of these funds hard. After our close collaboration with large South African retailers, financial services providers and regulators – we successfully managed to incubate and bring to market a product that reduces this price to about 3%. In just Lesotho, this product, has transferred 1 billion rand – saving recipients approximately 380 million rand for recipients to spend on the things they need most. We are now extending this to the rest of the SADC region and all of its corridors – and have set ourselves an ambitious target of saving the women of SADC billions rather than millions.

Bringing Covid relief to women in SADC

South Africa is one of the key economies Southern Africa. Its economy sustains not only its own citizens – but many families that live beyond its borders and depend on remittances they receive. During the strict lockdown, these remittances simply dried up in the low income category – information that was verified by the largest Cross Border Remittances FSPs.

Many migrants are informal and have no legal status in South Africa – meaning they are ineligible for most of the support that the government provides. They – along with their dependents thus faced a precarious situation where they were locked inside, without any form of income – and families to feed.

FinMark Trust could not let this situation stand – and acted rapidly to create, prototype and launch our Migrant Relief Fund – supporting 11 000 households for four months during one of our strictest lockdowns.

The women that drive our gender work

Nikki Kettles

Executive Head: Programmes

Notable career moment

Developing and presenting the SADC Mobile Money Guidelines to 16 Central Bank Governors for approval, and the subsequent implementation of these in the countries.

"It never hurts to keep looking for sunshine."- Winnie the Pooh

Tabitha Chamboko

Research and Information Specialist

Notable career moment

Spearheaded a successful and well received 5-day data-training workshop empowering regulators and national policymakers to help track their progress in financial inclusion.

"A positive mindset brings positive things."

Palesa Sematlane

FMT Country Coordinator – Lesotho

Notable career moment

At the Lesotho Electricity Company, the Government of Lesotho engaged a Contract Management Company to restructure and turn around the Electricity Corporation. When the new structure was implemented, I was appointed the first local to be Head of a new Corporate Services Division. All other directors were foreign experts and were all men.

"There is no passion in thinking small." - Nelson Mandela

Phathutshedzo Mukwevho

Finance and operations administration

Notable career moment

Facilitating the Financial Inclusion Data workshop on behalf of FMT.

"It is not about what you learn today, its about how you apply it tomorrow."

Phumelele Ngcobo

Specialist Programme Development

Notable career moment

Being part of the FinMark SA Team that is working closely with the National Treasury and the World Bank to finalise the National Financial Inclusion Policy “An Inclusive Financial Sector for All”.

"Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace" - Dalai Lama

Helen Mosito

Financial Accountant

Notable career moment

Assisting FMT to advance it’s projects objectives through my vast experience in Programme Financial Management.

"If you set good example, you need not worry about setting rules."

Nicola Schoeman

SADC FI Specialist: Innovation

Notable career moment

Ensibuuko Technical Assistance project – where we worked with an FSP to embed the use of data analytics within their business model.

"Love all, trust a few do wrong to none." - Shakespeare

Masedi Letsididi

FMT Country Coordinator – Botswana

Notable career moment

When I got a job at FMT I was very excited. I worked as an intern on an FMT project in 2009 and because it was work I found passion in doing, I dreamt of working for FMT, but never thought it would be possible. In 2020 that dream finally became a reality.

"Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare." - Angela Duckworth

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