Speaking on behalf of Africell was its Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Joe Abass Bangura. He welcomed all present, informing his audience that “the event is very significant as it is the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Africell and the Sierra Leone Commercial Bike Riders Union – that will officially make the Union, mobile Africell Money Agents to help in penetrating hard-to-reach areas of the communities around the country with much-needed mobile financial services.
He added that this step from Africell is a direct response to the Government and the Bank of Sierra Leone to fulfill the aspirations of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy; on the need to widening financial inclusion; through reaching the unbanked. He said studies have proved that there is a direct correlation between growth in financial inclusion and growth in GDP.
He maintained that published stories have confirmed that 80% of adult Sierra Leoneans are financially excluded; and they do not have access to formal financial services. “The cost of providing formal financial banking services in some places in the country is very high and therefore unsustainable. The most effective means of reaching these areas and people is through mobile financial services,” he said.
He went on to state that Africell is therefore pleased to be signing this MoU with the Commercial Bike Riders Union, adding that the details of the agreement include: provide the Union with 5,000 (five thousand) Africell Insurance policies worth Le250,000,000 (two hundred and fifty million Leones) to be equitably distributed across their nationwide members; in addition to provision of Le30M as stated earlier; followed by support to the Union in non-cash items and printing materials for their constitutional review process scheduled for 29th September in Bo as well as allocate periodic radio talk shows on AfriRadio 105.3FM for the Union.
He said the roles of the Union will be thus: identify and provide reliable members from across the country to serve as Agents; identify and provide members to be used on the marketing collaterals related to the agreement at no additional cost, and collectively also, through press statements, and all other available media outlets including but not limited to newspaper, radio and TV and social media platforms, accord Africell endorsements for and advertisement of all Africell Mobile Money Service.