Home Business Major success in M-Selen’s first year, $100m worth of transactions, 76,000 new...

Major success in M-Selen’s first year, $100m worth of transactions, 76,000 new members

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CEO Christina Lusaqa speaking today.
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M-Selen today celebrates its first birthday in flying colours with a staggering transactions worth over SBD 100 million wired through its network in its first year and registered 76,000 members.

The mobile money service celebrates its first anniversary underscoring stories of success as the service continues to penetrate and capture the unbanked rural areas.

“When we launched M-SELEN on June 12, 2023, our vision was to provide a secure, accessible, and efficient mobile money service that would bridge the financial inclusion gap in the Solomon Islands. Today, I am proud to say that we have made remarkable progress towards that goal,” said CEO of Our Telekom Christina Lasaqa.

She admits that financial inclusion remains a formidable challenge in the country with only 25.6 percent of the population holding bank accounts and a sparse distribution of ATMs—just 1.27 per 10,000 adults—accessing financial services is a difficult task, particularly for those in remote areas.

The average travel time of 69 minutes to reach a bank agent further compounds this challenge, disproportionately burdening resource-constrained individuals. Moreover, the cost of reaching a bank agent, averaging USD 9.48, poses a substantial financial strain, especially for low-income households.

Lasaqa said these statistics underscore a prevalent reliance on traditional cash-based transactions, with 72 percent of domestic remittances conducted in physical cash. The informal sector, which accounts for approximately 75 percent of total employment, faces similar challenges, exacerbating the broader issue of financial exclusion.

She recalled that M-SELEN was created to change this scenario.

“Over the past year, we have made significant strides in transforming the financial landscape of the Solomon Islands. I am pleased to report that we have registered approximately 10% of the Solomon Islands’ total population with our mobile money wallet. This achievement is even more significant given that over 41% of our users are women, many of whom had no previous access to formal financial services.

“Our extensive agent network now covers every province, making financial services more accessible to people across the country. We have processed transactions worth over SBD 100 million, and our customers have collectively saved approximately SBD 21 million by avoiding trips to bank branches or bank agents for doing financial transactions,” she stated.

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Lasaqa said these milestones are not just numbers; they represent real impacts on the lives of our people.

She highlighted that M-SELEN has contributed to driving business growth and economic development across the Solomon Islands

“By providing a reliable and efficient mobile money platform, we are enabling businesses to thrive, facilitating trade, and supporting the broader economy. Looking ahead, we see a bright future for M-SELEN and the people of the Solomon Islands. We are committed to continuing our efforts to enhance financial inclusion, expand our services, and bring the benefits of the digital economy to every corner of our nation. We envision a future where every individual, regardless of their location or socioeconomic status, has access to the financial services they need to improve their lives and achieve their goals,” she said.

Chairman of the Telekom Board Bauro Laxton Koraua said: “Looking ahead, our commitment to innovation and inclusivity remains unwavering. We will continue to expand our services, reach more people, and address the evolving needs of our users. Our goal is to ensure that every individual, no matter where they are, can benefit from the advantages of digital financial services. We are exploring new technologies and partnerships to enhance our offerings and provide even greater value to our customers.”

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