Lesotho hackathon launched

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Lesotho hackathon launched
Lesotho hackathon launched

Africa-Press – Lesotho. As a strategy to enhance financial literacy in Lesotho, Ministry of Finance in collaboration with Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) and the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) launched the Lesotho hackathon on Friday.

Hackathon derives under the Lesotho SIMM which is a multi-stakeholder project led by the Ministry of Finance, and Central Bank of Lesotho, and supported by the private sector, particularly mobile network operators (Vodacom and Econet) and financial service providers (including banks, non-banks and insurance companies) and FinMark Trust.

It is aimed at soliciting new ideas to facilitate product diversification and unlock opportunities for improved access to finance to the poor. Speaking at the launch, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Ms Christy Ahenkora indicated that it is about time hacking is used for the benefit of the country.

She said innovation is regarded one of the cornerstones to economic growth and development. “Technology has changed the daily lives of billions people across the globe.

Technology innovations, at UNDP, we believe have a huge potential to help accelerate attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to bridge the development divide between societies and enhance industrial development,” she said.

Ahenkora further indicated that they are looking at spreading and enabling every Mosotho in spite of their location whether in the highlands or lowlands have access to financial services.

“Through this hackathon, we want to expand and build on the work that will be produced during this session, we don’t want it to be just an academic session,” she noted.

Ahenkora further indicated that access to finance in Lesotho is lamented as one of the challenges to development. “This project is aimed to promote use of financial services, to tackle the challenges of access and use among stakeholders.

So, the net effect following this intervention is expected to increase the use of financial services, acceptance and pioneering innovations around technology for access to finance.

“Through understanding technology, financial literacy, and innovation we can be successful in our mission to financial inclusion,” she added.

Meanwhile, UNDP National Microfinance Specialist, Ms Mabulara Tsuene said the hackathon is linked to the innovation for products and services. She further said it is expected to help design the next generation application that will improve on the existing mobile financial systems.

“Next generation because we have what we have now that was developed some time ago but studies revealed that these applications are not necessarily addressing the key needs for particular sectors,” she said.

She said at the end of the hackathon, they anticipate that they will be looking at solutions, concentrating at the seven challenges linked with the current landscape of mobile money.

“The current mobile money landscape involves long steps for payment of various services in the country.

We are looking at how we locate agents and merchants which accept mobile money or financial access points because some people are discouraged to use them because they don’t know where the services are found.

Limited usability of the services among the semi-literate aged and visually impaired in the services offering for financial services so that everybody is included. Management of community or group, savings or credit programs to reduce vulnerability and insecurity among participants,” she added.

Participants in the programme are Basotho who want to further their software development skills and develop innovative solutions that will promote the welfare of the Lesotho citizens.

During the hackathon, they will receive mentoring, skills training. Up to 7 awards will be awarded for selected solutions and each award will include cash prize of US$ 5,000.

Out of the 17 groups in the hackathon competition, the seven groups which won were; Money bag, bundle-up, cashflow, Infocrasp, Nova, Trio and Technify.

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