Silver Springs, MD, USA —Last night, I was invited to a business luncheon in Silver Springs, Maryland, USA to listen to and share my perspectives on a new and revolutionary way to sending remittances to family and friends in Africa and perhaps in other countries outside of Africa.
The Sunday, April 22, 2018 business luncheon was organized by WorldRemit, the UK based fastest growing mobile money transfer financial services company. Prior to the program, WorldRemit’s global branding and marketing consultant Joanna Casimir highlighted what sets the company apart from other money transfer companies out there in the world and why African focus groups can help in ensuring that easy access, better security, affordability, and expediency could improve African Money Transfer experience when they choose WorldRemit.
First of all, remittances to Africa play a significant part in national economies in emerging market and developed regions, especially Africa. While there is no clearly organized data on the exact remittances sent to Africa considering that some Africans rely on informal channels to send money back home, the facts remains that immigrants from Africa today number appropriately 20 to 30 million adults, who send an estimated $40 billion United States Dollars annually to their families and local communities back home.
According to BBC International Development Correspondent Mark Doyle’s report, Africans’ remittances outweigh Western aid to the continent is huge and surpasses international foreign aid. Other statistics and reporting say the amount remitted annually by Africans to Africa represents 50 percent more than the net official development assistance (ODA) from all sources, and, for most countries, the amount also exceeds foreign direct investment (FDI). Besides, in several fragile states, remittances are estimated to exceed 50 percent of GDP.
According to a World Bank study, Nigeria is by far the top remittance recipient in Africa, accounting for $10 billion in 2010 and more dollars in subsequent years. Other top recipients include Sudan ($3.2 billion), Kenya ($1.8 billion), Senegal ($1.2 billion), South Africa ($1.0 billion), Uganda ($0.8 billion), Lesotho ($0.5 billion), Ethiopia ($387 million), Mali ($385 million), and Togo ($302 million). As a share of Gross Domestic Product, the top recipients in 2009 were: Lesotho (25%), Togo (10%), Cape Verde (9%), Guinea Bissau (9%), Senegal (9%), Gambia (8%), Liberia (6%), Sudan (6%), Nigeria (6%), and Kenya (5%).
According to the International Organization for Migration, Nigeria saw a sharp increase in remittances sent home from overseas Nigerians, going from USD 2.3 billion in 2004 to 17.9 billion in 2007, representing 6.7% of GDP. In 2016, remittances reached a new record of $35 billion. The United States accounts for the largest portion of official remittances, followed by the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Spain, and France. On the African continent, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, Libya and South Africa are important source countries of remittance flows to Nigeria, while China is the biggest remittance-sending country in Asia.
Most African countries restrict the payment of remittances to commercial banks, which in turn, typically enter into exclusive arrangements with large money transfer companies, like Western Union or Money Gram, to operate on their behalf. This limits competition, affordability, convenience, and access for consumers, and allows these Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) to charge the highest fees for remittances in the world. While Western Union, Money Gram, and others charge about $9.99 USD to send just $50 or more, WorldRemit charges less than a $1 to send up to 5,000 USD.
This is why the decision of the Nigerian Central Bank (NCB) in August 2016 to suspend the operations of all MTOs in the country, except those of Western Union, MoneyGram, and Rio, was met with a strong backlash. It was argued that the decision was not appropriately justified, while also standing in contrast to the NCB’s previous move to ban all exclusivity agreements with Western Union. The decision was considered to disproportionally strengthen the dominant position of Western Union, MoneyGram, and Rio. Under pressure, however, the Central Bank reversed the decision and granted new licenses to a number of competing MTOs.
Now, there are several new and innovative players, like WorldRemit, which aim to ease the stress and difficulties faced by people who remit money to their family, friends, and communities. Listening to testimonies of several Africans at the luncheon regarding their experience in signing up for and using WorldRemit over the past period, I was moved by the valuable and compassion approach the company brings to easing the money transfer problems generally encountered during remittance.
The discussion was formal and relaxed. The moderator, Ms. Debbie, a senior executive at WorldRemit based in Canada asked participants to outline their experiences using WorldRemit and also to provide suggestions for improvements and excellence if any.
Ms. Catherine Wines, a British national and the company’s co-founder, summarized the advantages and importance of establishing the company. Since its’ founding about 8 plus years ago, there are about 2 million people already sending money online with the company.
WorldRemit exists as an Online Money Transfer service so that people abroad can send money to friends and family back home. With WorldRemit, an individual can now send money easily and securely with guaranteed exchange rates and low fees. There are a number of things that set WorldRemit apart from all other Money Transfer services. First and foremost, WorldRemit Money Transfer is 24/7 and one can send money online worldwide from the comfort of their home, office or even from a restaurant or social function.
In addition, the process is very simple and easy. The first step is to sign up for the WorldRemit app on your phone or computer. Once signed up, the sender will select recipient country and choose from the following:
- Bank account deposit
- Cash pick-up or delivery
- Mobile money transfer wallet
- Mobile phone airtime top-up
WorldRemit makes money transferred online worldwide fast and safe, and is as easy as follows: guaranteed exchange rates and low transfer fees; over 1 million transactions per year; no matter what day, what time: they are open, and one can track his or her money with instant SMS updates.
According to Co-founder Wines and based on the testimonies of users, here is what makes WorldRemit more appealing and far superior than the rest of the others in the business. To get there, we need to answer this question: Why choose WorldRemit? The answer is simple. Sending money by WorldRemit:
- Low cost ––the company’s low fees and exchange rates are shown upfront.
- Fast––Anyone can get money to family and friends in minutes
- Simple––It’s easy to use and the staff are there to help around the clock
- Trusted ––The system and process is trusted and in fact, it has 69,000+ 5-star reviews
Besides, the company’s industry-leading technology protects a sender’s money and guarantees that it arrives safely every time. WorldRemit is licensed by government regulators around the world, so everyone can be sure they meet the highest possible standards.
In his interview with the Guardian, one of the company’s co-founder Ismail Ahmed, an African born UK citizen, said about 80% of revenue comes from outside the UK, says Ahmed, and the plan is to continue global expansion.
WorldRemit is a simple online platform that everyone needs to see for themselves. It’s so much simpler and more convenient to send money online, than having to visit an agent or a bank. Just by following these steps anyone can get started:
- Choose the country you want to send to we offer a choice of over 140 different countries.
- Choose how you want to send your money:
- Choose how much you want to send: enter an amount and our low fees and exchange rates will be clearly shown.
- Enter your recipient’s details: add a new person by entering their details or choose from a list of people you’ve already sent to.
- Pay and relax: Choose how you want to pay – a bank account or debit/credit card – then confirm the amount.
WorldRemit offers a choice of ways to send money, however, not every service is available in every country. But whichever service one chooses, the company also requires certain personal details from the sender and the recipient, to ensure each transaction is as secure as he or she would like it to be.