‘Lonestar Cell MTN Mobile Money Transforming Small Business Owner Lives’

first_imgKelvin Z. Sambola of LordKelvin Forex BureauSince the breakthrough of the first mobile money platform in Liberia about a decade ago by one of the country’s leading mobile telecommunications operators, Lonestar Cell MTN, new technologies and innovative business models such as agent banking (rather than branch-centered banking) have led to the creation of a mass market for affordable, accessible, and sustainable financial services for low-income people, small-scale entrepreneurs, and people in rural areas.The Mobile Money service has grown from a money transfer platform to a “wallet” platform that allows users to pay utility bills, school fees, as well as purchase goods and services at shops, offices, restaurants and other business centers around the country.The December 2016 Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) statistics puts mobile money to a total subscriber base of over 774,750 users nationwide.Lonestar Cell MTN Mobile Money Incorporated has provided jobs for over 3,000 agents, and out of this number, about 2,423 were considered as active participants [agents] in the mobile money ecosystem.In an interview with the Daily Observer last week, beneficiaries (agents) of the mobile money expressed gratitude to the management of Lonestar Cell MTN which, according to them had provided massive employment that has also transformed and empowered them financially to shoulder the financial burden of their families and relatives.Money changer to game changerMr. Jallah Acquoilakpa, the manager of the Lola Business Center in the Barnesville community, said that since his recruitment in 2011 by Lonestar Cell MTN as its agent, it has enable him send his children to school as well as further his own college education.Mr. Jallah Acquoilakpa, manager of the Lola Business Center in the Barnesville communityAcquoilakpa recounted that before his recruitment he served as a local money exchanger. Now, “the mobile money service is a game-changer for me and my family.”According to him, when the service was introduced, there were challenges because people by then were new to mobile money transactions, which took him time to be able to convince his customers that the service was more convenient way to convey and access money.Because of that he said, Lonestar Cell MTN was compelled to create more awareness to inform the people about the importance of mobile money platform and “at least it is helping to reduce the crowdedness of commercial banks.”“Even without a bank account people can still receive and send money to other people anywhere in the country without bank involvement,” he said.Acquoilakpa disclosed that since his recruitment into the mobile money business, he has made significant improvement in his life and that of his business. “Mobile Money helped me to own a house, pay my university school fees, including my children. So, I can say mobile money is a good platform that all Liberians need to take very seriously… it is convenient, easy.”He meanwhile used the occasion to commend Lonestar Cell MTN for affording Liberians opportunity to engage in such a business, as well as provide jobs and to make banking easier for them.Avenue for self-employmentAnother Lonestar Cell MTN mobile money agent, Francis Ilide, who runs a drug store at the Gardnersville Supermarket community, explained that within the seven years of his recruitment, Mobile Money has tremendously improved his life and business.Francis Ilide, a Nigerian businessman, of Ilis Medicine Store in the Supermarket community, GardnersvilleMr. Ilide said, there are many benefits associated with the service once you are a Mobile Money Agent.“Mobile Money profit creates an avenue for Liberians to get self-employment,” he said. According to him, through his mobile money business he managed to purchase a plot land and the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment (LBDI) is currently renting from him.Mr. Ilide said the platform also helped him to pay for his college graduation fees and admitted that the mobile money platform is very cool, reliable and convenient for making payments.For Mrs. Babu Kabba Konneh, who is the chief executive officer of SP Business Center on the Old Road, she praised Lonestar Cell MTN for bringing to Liberia such an innovative service that is making “our country a cashless economy.”Mrs. Konneh said since she started in September of 2011, the Mobile Money platform has been good to her. “Through Mobile Money, I have established two businesses and am also paying my children school fees.”At the same time, another vendor of the Lonestar Cell MTN Mobile Money, Curtis Wilson, general manager of Favor Marketing Incorporated, said they are doing what the banks have not yet done, which is to turn to informal or unbanked customers.Curtis Wilson Of Favor Marketing Incorporated“Our goal is to bring money from the informal sector into the formal sector,” Mr. Wilson said. Favor Marketing Incorporated is one of the biggest Mobile Money agents in Liberia.For his part, Kelvin Sambola, president of the National Association of Foreign Exchange Bureaus of Liberia and one of the first agents of Lonestar Cell MTN, also expressed similar success story and called on youths to take advantage of opportunities provided by the Mobile Money service, which “is changing lives.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

University of Sydney to display Greek antiquities

first_imgThe University of Sydney has received a $15 million donation from Chinese Australian entrepreneur Dr Chau Chak Wing to establish a new museum on campus covering 6,000 square metres.Dr Wing said this “heartfelt contribution” aims to do justice to some of the university’s earliest collections of cultural, archaeological and scientific artefacts.The university owns more than 700,000 objects, however, most treasures of the Macleay, Nicholson and University Art Gallery collections are not currently displayed because of limited space.“Many [of the objects] have been in storage for most of their lives, as we’ve really lacked the infrastructure to show them in the best light,” said David Ellis, director of museums at the University of Sydney.“So, some of our earliest collections date back to the very beginnings of the university in the 1850s.“In fact, some were in private collections well before that time, so, for many, it will be the first time they’ll be displayed to the public.”The new museum will include antiquities from Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Asia, along with a more extensive Egyptian collection of insects and jewellery, Japanese woodcuts and a broad range of Australian art.“Museums are an important part of city cultural life,” said Dr Chau in a statement, adding that the donation was directed at developing the Australia-China friendship.“It is a common aspiration of people all over the world to promote cultural heritage, and it’s our responsibility to ensure it is passed on to future generations.”The donation will also enable the university to redevelop and connect the Macleay and adjacent Edgeworth David buildings by 2018, when the museum is expected to open with free admission.One of the new features Dr Wing aims to introduce to both students and the general public is specially-equipped study rooms “where students can actually use, handle, [and] interrogate objects, the cultural heritage”, in a hands-on and controlled environment. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more