Letshego Continuously Improving Lives by Tapping into the Financially Excluded Population
In 2018, Letshego has embarked on major additional loan portfolio improvements in Uganda and Botswana as part of its “financial inclusion or improving lives” agenda.
In Uganda, Letshego has launched a ground-breaking partnership with D.Light Solar to provide home solar power financing to low income earners, the first of its kind in Uganda. D.Light Solar is a leading manufacturer and distributor of solar powered solutions mainly for homes and families with no access to reliable electricity. Access to electricity remains a challenge in Africa with half a billion people currently living without electricity and with many homes left in the dark due to continuous load shedding. In Uganda, the same challenge remains especially in the rural and semi-urban areas and such a new partnership is geared towards improving the livelihoods in these areas. The solar financing which is part of its microfinance arrangement will help Ugandans buy and install solar panels in their homes. This solution comes in a package including television, five bulbs, an FM Radio, phone charger and torch in addition to solar panels. Borrowers will benefit from partial repayments for a period of 3 to 12 months to fully own the gadgets.
In Botswana, Letshego are currently exploring prospects of tapping into the agricultural sector by providing agricultural financing as a way of diversifying its loan portfolio and contributing towards the country’s economic growth. “Letshego already has a sustainable and profitable model in Uganda and Rwanda financing watershed agricultural projects that contribute to employment creation in those countries,” said Group CEO, Chris Low. “We are currently working on setting up and commencing our Micro & Small Entrepreneurs Business (MSE) segment for Botswana. Our financing basket will encompass agriculture, housing and other non-major business streams,” he added. This new product offering will also contribute to the growth of communities and lives of the ordinary citizens thus further including those who were previously excluded from the financial sector. This brings the number of subsidiaries offering agri-business solutions to three i.e. Botswana, Uganda and Nigeria.
Letshego incorporated in 1998, is leading pan-African inclusive group operating in eleven African markets spanning Southern, Eastern and Western African regions. It is listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange with a market capitalisation of over USD 350 M. As of December 2017, the group has a loan book size of BWP 7.8 Bn (approx. USD 780 M).
Verdant Capital raised approx. BWP 256 M (approx. USD 25.6 M) in Q1 2018 from leading European specialist and impact investor and further funding from the same programme is expected to be drawn in the coming months.