GBARNGA, Bong – The Central Bank of Liberia has congratulated the management of Lonestar Cell MTN for affording the nation access to mobile banking.
Representing the Central Bank of Liberia, Erica Williams said the executive governor of CBL, J. Mills Jones, and the entire CBL family are grateful to Lonestar Cell for the introduction of mobile money service in Liberia.
Williams made the comments during a brief remark at the one-day mobile money national agent forum held in Gbarnga, Bong County.
Providing a brief overview of the mobile money service offered by Lonestar Cell MTN from the CBL point of view, Williams said the incorporation of the mobile money service into the financial sector of Liberia in 2011 was a way of fostering the country’s financial inclusion initiative of the Central Bank of Liberia. Hence, giving access to every person in the country to save their money.
“As of December 2016, mobile money has acquired a total subscriber base of over 774,750 users in Liberia. The subsidiary Lonestar Mobile Money Incorporated has a total of 1,135 agents, and out of the 1,135; we have 656 active participants [as agents] in the mobile money service,” she added.
Williams said that in addition to the merchants who are directly providing the mobile money service to users in the 15 counties of Liberia, Lonestar has formed a partnership with three banking institutions for the provision of the service.
She named Ecobank, Guarantee Trust Bank and International Bank Liberia Limited as those banking institutions as partners in the service delivery. She said there were plans on the way to incorporate other banking institutions into the sector soon.
Williams reported that already, the Central Bank of Liberia had committed to providing financial inclusion to Liberia under the Declaration of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion in ensuring that at least 50% of the Liberian adults have access to formal financial services through the mobile money service.
She noted that despite all the success stories being preached, both the CBL and Lonestar had some hurdles to overcome.
“There are still several challenges that need to be addressed by both CBL as the regulatory agency and Lonestar Cell MTN as the mobile money service provider,” William noted. “Key among those are; consumer’s protection in using the service; the development of a financial literacy framework for the sector, and the development of an agency network for the mobile money sector, especially for the rural inhabitants.”
She said the lack of agency network for the sector was impeding the expansion goal of the service for the rural dwellers, thereby limiting the quest for the smooth implementation of the CBL financial inclusion initiative.
Featured photo courtesy of Arrington Ballah