Letshego Financial Services Botswana, (LFSB), says Information and Computer Technology (ICT) is paramount to socio-economic development in Botswana and Africa as a whole. For the Letshego Group, their strategy and current transformation journey, entails delivery of financial solutions via digital platforms is a key imperative for the brand. It is against this background that LFSB has, for the third consecutive year, sponsored the ICT Fair, a national platform which brings together ICT teachers and other key stakeholders from schools across the country.
The Fair was this year held in Palapye from 30-31 July 2016, bringing together 700 Primary, 280 Junior and 33 senior schools together to help shape future ICT gurus. The Fair is a product of the Central Region ICT Committee, comprising ICT Teachers and ICT Officers from Central Region’s Primary, Junior and Senior Secondary Schools. The primary aim of the committee is to ensure coordination of ICT activities, teamwork and ensure improvement in the use of ICT in day-to-day teaching and learning processes. The committee relies on support and aid from external parties, largely in the private sector, and Letshego remains a committed partner in this regard.
“We are humbled to once again support such an important and relevant forum as this. Such forums are close to our hearts for two key reasons. Firstly, our firm belief that we need, as a community and as a nation, to embrace digital platforms as a means to better deliver innovation and relevant solutions. If we look at some of the more developed economies today, you will see the pivotal role that ICT has played in development. We at Letshego are committed towards improving lives, and technology is the most apt means for delivering on this. Our own transformation journey is, for instance, heavily based on embracing and appropriating digital means,” said LFSB CEO, Frederick Mmelesi. “Secondly, as we work towards being Africa’s leading inclusive finance group, we are committed towards ensuring support for the typically underserved or unbanked through driving greater financial inclusion. A key component of this is ensuring stronger and more sustainable financial literacy and access for Batswana.”
In this regard, Letshego considers financial literacy as vital for financial inclusion. Thus, the LFSB’s sponsorship of the 2016 ICT Fair was both monetary and in kind, with a key tenet being an engaging financial literacy talk to help ensure sustainable practice and understanding of the marriage between ICT and financial literacy, as well as how this informs and allows for greater financial inclusion. The talk, held before all attendees of the Fair, was delivered through Moedi Technologies’ spokesperson, Nelson Letshwene, who is a key public champion of financial literacy.
Financial literacy has always been a central focus in the wider Letshego Group, with a number of efforts and programmes in place both historic and current. In 2015, Letshego launched a three-year nationwide financial literacy campaign, which covers civil service, parastatals, private and informal sectors.
According to Letshego Holdings Limited Group Managing Director, Chris Low, “Financial literacy is a very important tool for financial inclusion. Mobile phones, innovative access channels, direct approaches with simple, affordable and ethical solutions that are relevant to the needs of the unbanked and under-banked, are means of creating inclusion. In our wider economy, the importance of embracing ICT platforms, insights and opportunities has the potential to fast-track our financial literacy and inclusion objectives, towards a stronger Botswana and Africa.”
Youth are the primary users and drivers of digital platforms, and it is estimated that 90% of students are below the age of 18. Therefore, the ICT Fair’s focus on enabling greater understanding of, appreciation for and use of ICT platforms amongst youth and their teachers stands to champion a generation of students who can actively contribute to the progress of the nation. ICT has proven to be a key focus area for Government in delivering on the vision of the country to empower Batswana and drive economic diversification. Letshego Group and LFSB continue to support this across the board.
By John Churu, Gaborone, Botswana