Letshego Kenya: Improving Livelihoods Through Innovative Financial Solutions

Adam Kasaine, CEO, Letshego Kenya

Letshego Holdings Limited (“Letshego”) was incorporated in 1998, is headquartered in Gaborone and has been publicly listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange since 2002. Through its eleven country presence across Southern, East and West Africa (Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda), its subsidiaries provide simple, appropriate and accessible consumer, microfinance and savings solutions to underserved communities, or individuals who struggle to access traditional banking services.

Letshego Kenya Limited, formerly Micro Africa Limited (acquired by the Letshego Group in 2012), is the largest credit only microfinance institution in Kenya.

Letshego Kenya commenced operations in 2000, providing credit services to small and micro-entrepreneurs, salaried employees, and civil servants.

In the following interview with StartUp Magazine, Adam Kasaine, CEO, Letshego Kenya speaks openly about the firm’s presence in the country and how it supports over 20,000 customers with a wide range of innovative and reliable financial solutions to the urban, peri-urban and rural population.

What was your mission at the outset?

Our mission is to transform and improve lives of clients especially the underserved through provision of financial solutions while creating a rewarding and stimulating working environment for our employees.

How can your solutions be accessed?

We have a wide network of 25 branches countrywide serving over 24,000 customers.

What areas of interest do you target with your financial solutions?

We strive to increase access to simple and appropriate financial solutions to underserved members of our local community.  By ‘underserved’ we mean individuals who may or may not have a bank account, but find it challenging to access broader traditional banking services.

Letshego Kenya offers the following solutions:

  • Housing solutions -These are structured solutions to enable customers to provide financial support to consumers who may find it challenging to access traditional housing finance or Home Loans. Letshego’s housing solution includes partnerships with construction suppliers, so customers can access building materials to build residences or buildings on an incremental basis. These structures may be used as residences. Some customers use the buildings to generate additional income through property rental.
  • Agricultural Solutions  – Letshego’s agriculture solutions focus on providing small scale farmers with inputs to increase the quality of agricultural outputs and harvest volumes to achieve expanded income for sustainable growth.
  • Education Eco-System Solutions – Letshego’s customised education eco-system solution for schools aims to support multiple stakeholders within a school environment, be it the school itself, teachers, parents, as well as providing fundamental financial skills training for learners.
  • Consumer Solutions – Letshego has tailored financial solutions for individual entrepreneurs who require working capital to boost stock and future sales potential.
  • Salary check-off Solutions that are designed for employees of Government entities, Quasi Government institutions and selected private institutions.
  • Insurance Agency services offering insurance solutions as an added value to protect our customers from loss of earnings in the event of unforeseen circumstances such as critical illness, permanent disabilities, loss of life and destruction & loss of property.

What would you say has been the greatest impact by your financial solutions?

At Letshego Kenya, we are committed to improve our customer’s lives and impact their business. We have changed the lives of our customers through creating employment directly with our current workforce of 220 permanent staff and 100 direct sales teams and indirectly through the growth of the MSE sector. We have on boarded over 3000 new customers in affordable Housing and over 300 private schools with the Edu solutions that target the private sector.

Why do you think you are best suited to serve the regional market?

  • Our Business Model – Offering simple, appropriate and accessible financial solutions.
  • Our Roots – A Pan African Company with Tailor made solutions for Africa’s excluded or underserved by being appropriate and inclusive in an ethical manner.
  • Our Approach – to reach out to the underserved in the financial sector.
  • Incremental financing through the unique inclusive housing solutions.

Have you faced any unique challenges in your course of operation? If so, how have you mitigated them?

The major challenge is the general economic conditions that affect client’s ability to pay their facilities. We have responded to this by ensuring we have robust credit criteria in offering loans that match the individual applicants’ personal level of affordability.  For those customers who may find themselves facing challenges in making payments during the course of their loan, we remain accommodative in finding flexible ways those customers can repay their loans, without jeopardizing their current personal or family commitments.

From your experience, what would you say are the key ingredients of running a successful micro-finance institution?

Understanding your customers and their needs is key, tailoring solutions to meet those needs and Turnaround Time in providing the finances to them.

  • What emerging trends do you see in your line of business and their impacts on your operation?
  • Digitization
  • Upcoming technology aided lending providers e.g STAWI
  • Regulation by Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) which has had a positive impact to Letshego Kenya and similar players in the microfinance industry.

What are your plans in the foreseeable future?

We plan to grow our innovative solutions through responding to our customer needs and emerging requirements.

Other pertinent issue?

None, we thank you for thinking about Letshego Kenya.

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