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Monday, 10 June 2013

Lowering the cost of remittances for Africa

About 120 million people in Africa benefit every year from remittances sent by their relatives and friends who left their home countries, for a total of USD 60 billion (€45,3 billion) in 2012.
The real figures are likely to be much higher as remittances to and from Africa are significantly uncounted and official channels remain the most expensive in the world. Especially the south-south transfers which are estimated at 67% of the incoming flows to Africa, being mainly informal and often overlooked.

As part of the effort of approaching these inaccuracies, the World Bank hosted on 16th May in Brussels a meeting to discuss how to better understand the magnitudes of remittances to/within Africa, which gathered diaspora organisations, country representatives, the European Commission and international organisations.
The conference looked at possible solutions to lower the cost of transfers -including by improving access in rural areas through postal network or mobile technologies. They also discussed at ways to leverage the development impact of remittances including by improving financial literacy and emitting bonds for diaspora. It also developed a database ("Send Money Africa") on the cost of sending and receiving money to 28 African countries with the aim of increasing the transparency of the financial transactions to Africa.
The African Institute for Remittances (AIR), whose constituency was approved by the AU Heads of State and Government Assembly in July 2012, will provide research, technical assistance, private sector engagement and advocacy in order to lower the cost of remittances to and from Africa.
The 16th May meeting was organised by the World Bank as part of the project supporting the establishment of the AIR. The project originates from the Africa-EU Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment.

Source: Africa-EU Partnership