Promoting financial inclusion through mobile money while introducing regulatory solutions to reduce and control money laundering in Lesotho
Mobile money services have considerable potential in modern economies. They have the potential to increase financial inclusion for poor people and people excluded from formal financial services. This is because mobile money services can be accessed simply using a mobile cellular phone and the majority of people nowadays own mobile phones, including people living in the rural areas. Mobile money can therefore solve the problem of financial exclusion because even the people who live in the rural areas without access to formal financial services can now access financial services thorough mobile money services. Financial inclusion, on the other hand, is simply defined as a situation where every member of the society has access to and is able to use financial services offered by formal financial services institutions, such as banks and insurance companies. Financial inclusion has many benefits, the main benefit being the stimulation of the economy of a country. For mobile money services to operate smoothly and financial inclusion to be achieved, there must be enabling regulation. Regulation must not be so strict as to prevent mobile money service providers from operating. Regulation must allow for innovation and at the same time maintain financial integrity and stability by ensuring that financial crimes, such as money laundering, do not affect mobile money services. Although mobile money services can increase financial inclusion, regulators must be vigilant to ensure that they stop criminals from using mobile money services to commit money laundering offences. This research focuses mainly on mobile money services in the Kingdom of Lesotho. The aim is to find out how regulation can be improved to ensure that mobile money services can help to increase financial inclusion. The aim is also to find out how regulation can help to ensure that mobile money services operate smoothly, and that the crime of money laundering is prevented from affecting mobile money services. To achieve this aim, the research is divided into different chapters and in each chapter the aim is to find ways in which the main aim can be achieved. In the research, mobile money and financial inclusion will be defined and their importance in modern economies will be demonstrated in greater detail. Furthermore, the issues of money laundering will be discussed. The threat of the crime of money laundering will be highlighted. An analysis of the legal regulatory framework of mobile money services and money laundering in Lesotho will be undertaken to determine the extent to which these regulatory frameworks can help realise financial inclusion and promote mobile money services in Lesotho. The same discussion is made in respect of other African countries. The legal regulatory framework of Lesotho will be compared to the framework of other African countries to ascertain how mobile money services and money laundering and financial inclusion issues are regulated in those countries. The countries discussed in this research are South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, and Ghana. Based on these discussions, some shortcomings in the legal regulatory framework of mobile money services and money laundering in Lesotho will be identified and the conclusion will be drawn that the two frameworks have to be revisited to ensure that mobile money services will operate smoothly in the Kingdom of Lesotho. Furthermore, recommendations will be made to address the legal shortcomings identified in the framework.
- Law