On Tuesday 13th December 2022, the financial mobile service of Orange-SL, Orange Money, officially opened its new headquarters at Hill Station, where Madam Abibatu Baxter told the audience that the establishment of the new office is to deepen its drive of improving financial inclusion in the country.
In his brief statement on the journey so far, Chief Executive Officer of Orange Money, David Mansaray, disclosed that he joined Orange Money in 2019, after leaving the Standard Chartered Bank, furthering that during that initial stage, he noted that a huge gap existed in the financial sector, with a huge number of residents in the country unable to access finance, and the risk of having to carry huge cash from one place to the other, as well as doing financial transactions.
Thus the idea of expanding Orange Money service became an alternative that could solve this problem. He furthered that though banks were in existence, they were not is most parts of the country, due to the running cost such venture will impose on the bank. Thus Orange Money provided that solution, and many Sierra Leoneans, who were unable to have accounts in Banks and even those who found it difficult to access cash from banks, as they were far from their areas of operations or residence, preferred to join Orange Money, as the company had agents in almost every part of the country, including hard to reach areas. Thus, both customers of banks and those who had no accounts in any bank; began doing business with Orange Money. They found out that it was easier to access cash through Orange Money than from their accounts in the banks. Many decided to do transactions with Orange. It was also safer and free of risk of being attacked by robbers, since they simply have their cash in their phones. As business progressed, banks began establishing partnerships with Orange Money, and today they have some 8 partnerships with banks. Customers now of those banks could now access their accounts through the use of their phones, via the wallet to bank and bank to wallet service.
They are now able to do financial transactions with their phones, including paying for service and payment for goods.
David Mansaray furthered that they also established partnership with big institutions, enabling residents to do their transactions through Orange Money. This, he maintained, led to an increase in partnership, which included overseas financial remittances. He expressed pride in being able to provide financial services to remote areas in the country and enhancing financial inclusion of the government. He expressed appreciation to the Bank of Sierra Leone for their support, and customers for patronizing them, and their staff for their unflinching support through the years.
In his statement, Orange-SL’s CEO, Sekou Bah, said that Orange money was introduced in 2016, adding that technology has helped to enhance innovative ideas in the Mobile money transaction and deepening financial inclusion. He also furthered that it has also helped in addressing the issues of access to financial services and breaking the digital divide. Sekou Bah disclosed that about 70% of men and 75% of women that are unbanked are now accessing their service. Orange Money, he furthered has a customer base of over one million and some 12, 000 agents across the country.
CEO Bah expressed delight that Orange Money has been able to secure its own building, which is being opened today, adding that they will continue to adhere to the financial laws governing their operations. He extended appreciate to Orange Money staff and partners for contributing in the growth of their business, and thanked the Central Bank for their oversight, assuring that Orange Money will continue to grow.
Professor Kelfala Kallon, Governor of the Bank of Sierra Leone, in his statement, expressed delight in being part of the auspicious program. He maintained that Mobile Money has helped in creating financial services to the people of Sierra Leone; especially in remote areas. He urged the mobile money service providers not to relent and to create more inroads to support the people of Sierra Leone, admonishing them to reach out to other communities.
In his contribution, the Director General of NatCA, Daniel Kaitibi, thanked Orange Money for the support in the telecommunication sector, adding that the telecommunication sector is very productive in paying taxes than mining companies. He also assured that, they will continue to deepen their partnership with the Bank of Sierra Leone. He recalled the struggle to make international calls when mobile companies were not available in the country, as one would have to spend huge money to come to Freetown and wait in long queues at the only telecom outlet at SLET, often for days to make collect calls. Today, this is a thing of the past, as people can now make calls across the globe with their phones in the comfort of their homes. He assured that he will not sit down and allow companies that are supporting the country to grow, to die. He commended the leadership and staff of Orange for the giant leap, and admonished them to continue the good work.