Saturday, 23 October 2010

WB Urges African Governments, Financial Institutions to Leverage Development Impact of Remittances

The FINANCIAL -- Remittances to sub-Saharan Africa exceed US$21 billion and are forecast to grow by almost 2 percent in 2010 despite a weak global economy, according to World Bank estimates on remittances flows.

A recent Bank survey for Kenya estimates that 14 percent of adult Kenyans regularly receive an average of US$735 in remittances from abroad a year. This amount is remitted in seven transactions amounting to US$105 each, according to the survey for Kenya, which was launched today at a joint conference by the World Bank and the Central Bank of Kenya in Nairobi. Read more

AFRICA: Remittances to sub-Saharan Africa exceed US$21 billion

Remittances to sub-Saharan Africa exceed US$21 billion and are forecast to grow by almost two percent in 2010 despite a weak global economy, said the World Bank.

The Bank stated in a press release issued on Tuesday, urging governments and remittance service providers to cooperate and reach out to each other to enhance the development impact of remittances for Africa.

“A recent Bank survey for Kenya estimates that 14 percent of adult Kenyans regularly receive an average of US$735 in remittances from abroad a year. This amount is remitted in seven transactions amounting to US$105 each, according to the survey for Kenya, which was launched today at a joint conference by the World Bank and the Central Bank of Kenya in Nairobi. Read more

AFRICA: Remittances to Africa edging up, lagging other regions

NAIROBI – Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa will rise modestly this year despite a sluggish world economy, but its share of such monies trails those of other developing regions, a World Bank official has said.

Funds sent home to the region by citizens living abroad “exceed US$21 billion and are forecast to grow by almost two per cent in 2010 despite a weak global economy”, said a World Bank study launched jointly with Kenya’s central bank.

Remittance flows represent a significant share of gross domestic product (GDP) for many African countries, but “in global terms it is not as high as other regions”, Benjamin Musuku, head of the World Bank’s Future of African Remittances programme, told Reuters after a news conference.
He noted that remittances to Mexico alone were roughly the same as those received by the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa. Read more

Remittances buoy small Pacific economies

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Pacific Scoop, Oct. 14, 2010) – University researchers and Pacific Island people alike are claiming that not all Pacific Islands are as vulnerable as they may seem.

Geoff Bertram, senior economics lecturer at Victoria University and an authority on small Pacific Island societies, says that the situation in the Pacific Islands is not as bad as people seem to think.

"On the whole, the Pacific is in a good state," he says.

This is because of remittances – relatives in other countries supporting their families back home.

Dr. Melani Anae, senior lecturer in Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland, says this system is working well for Pacific nations such as Samoa and Tonga, to keep up the standard of living. Read more

Ghanaians Abroad Should Be Allowed To Vote

The majority of respondents in a survey on the review of the 1992 Constitution, have endorsed the granting of voting rights in national elections to Ghanaians living or working abroad.

They indicated that such an amendment would enhance the decision making process among the citizens living abroad and enhance their remittances, which is of significance to Ghana’s economy.
Read more

INDIA: Mobile financial services for poor

As mobile penetration increases in India, it’s inevitable that it spreads economic wellbeing. Now that money transfers, payments and banking can take place over the device, financial services are available to anyone with a mobile. Telecom operators, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Mobile Payment Forum of India and the Unique Identification Authority of India have taken several initiatives to expand financial inclusion. Read more

BANGLADESH: Fair contest in remittance transfer demanded

Speakers at a dialogue underscored the need for a liberalised regime for facilitating the transfer of migrants' remittances. They observed that a few multinational money transfer agencies are enjoying near monopoly control on local banks with which they have relationships through exclusivity clause. They demanded termination of such clause for facilitating increased inflow of remittances into the country. Agreeing, in principle, with the above position the Governor of Bangladesh Bank stated that the absence of competition law in the country has led to such undesirable situation. The Governor informed that a review will be conducted by the central back in this regard.

Speaking as the Chief Guest Dr. Atiur Rahman also said that the introduction of new technology in remittance transfer has had a significant impact on the volume of remittance to the country. He urged the private and public sector banks to collaborate with one another to provide best possible services to remitter and their families at the minimum possible cost. The Governor also urged the banks to develop investment products for returnee migrants under their Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) scheme. Read more

KENYA: Billions received as diaspora remittances increase

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya received U.S. $1.9 billion dollars in remittances from the Diaspora over the past year according to a World Bank-sponsored study.

The study which was released in Nairobi on Tuesday Diaspora remittances have grown steadily over the last five years, providing support for Kenyans with relatives working abroad, while also boosting the country’s real estate and stock market.

The World Bank study says about 2.6 million Kenyans or 14 per cent of the adult population regularly receive an average of U.S. $750 dollars a year from their relatives residing abroad.
Read more

Friday, 15 October 2010

PHILIPPINES: Globe launches ATM card for OFW remittances

MANILA, Philippines—G-Xchange Inc. (GXI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom, has launched an automated teller machine (ATM) card that makes it easier for Filipinos to receive remittances from their relatives and other loved ones abroad.

The GCASH Card, which is an ATM card linked to an electronic wallet, allows holders to withdraw remittances from the estimated 9,000 automated teller machines of Bancnet, Megalink, ExpressNet, and Encash nationwide. Read more

Pakistan remittances grow by 13.5pc in first quarter

KARACHI: Remittances sent home by overseas Pakistanis registered a growth of 13.5 percent to reach $2.646 billion during the first quarter (July-September) of the current fiscal year, spokesman for the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) said on Monday.

Syed Wasimuddin, Chief Spokesman, State Bank of Pakistan, said that the flow of remittances continued to show a rising trend as an increased amount of $314.8 million was received during the quarter against $2.331 billion during the same quarter last year. Read more

Thursday, 7 October 2010

GHANA: Ecobank Launches Instant Money Transfer

ECOBANK Ghana, a member of the Pan African Banking group has launched the first intra-African money transfer across 30 countries and beyond.

The Ecobank Rapid Transfer is an instant money transfer product which provides fast, convenient and a reliable way to transfer money across and within countries where Ecobank is present.

Speaking at the launch, the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Kofi Wampah, said remittances had become an important ingredient in the growth prospects of developing countries and also had the potential as a developmental tool. Read more

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Remittances to Colombia drop 10.5%

Remittances sent from Colombians abroad dropped 10.5 percent in the first six months of 2010, according to a report by Colombia's central bank.

Colombians receive the most money from familiy members living in Spain and United States, and the drop in remittances is attributed to financial crises in both countries. Currently 7.5 percent of Colombian earnings are attributed to remittances, according to the bank.

The total number of remittances received reached $1.87 billion, meaning a decrease of around $220 million as compared to last year.

According to the report, the departments in the Coffee Region are the most dependent on money sent from abroad due to their unemployment rates. The unemployment rate in Pereira is 21.3 perecent, and is 17 percent in both Manizales and Armenia. The national urban unemployment rate is 12.2 percent. Source

SOMALIA: Why 'Hawala' Firms Are Crucial to Rebuilding the Economy

Nairobi — Somalia's crippled financial system faces severe challenges even as the country struggles to emerge from two decades of conflict.

Peace-building and reconstruction work will cost billions of dollars. The question of how this is to be paid for is crucial. Though Somalia potentially has sufficient natural resources, these are yet to be developed and the current level of funding for the Transitional Federal Government does not inspire confidence that the international community is keen to foot the bill. Read more

PHILIPPINES: Banco de Oro expands remittance network

MANILA, Philippines - Wells Fargo & Co. and Banco De Oro Unibank Inc. (BDO) has forged a money transfer or remittance alliance designed to make it easier and faster to receive remittances from overseas Filipinos.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo is known for its ExpressSend money transfer service while BDO has BDO Remit as its remittance service brand.

With the team-up, Wells Fargo account holders can send remittances to beneficiaries in the Philippines through a Credit to BDO account (in pesos) or via Cash Pick up Anywhere at BDO’s nearly 2,700 remittance pick up locations all over the Philippines. Read more

Monday, 4 October 2010

GHANA: Mid-Year Remittances Reach $4.2bn

GHANA’s MID-year remittances from January to May this year hit $4.2 billion outstripping foreign direct investment and development assistance put together.

Kofi Wampah, first Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, who made this known referring to a recent Bank of Ghana report on the balance of payments position of the country, said the figure represented a 22.2 percent increase over what pertained in the same period of 2009.

Read more

ZIMBABWE: Govt Urged to Exploit Diaspora Remittances

Zimbabwe should exploit remittances of its people living and working outside the country to enhance their contribution to the economic recovery, renowned labour economist Dr Godfrey Kanyenze has said.

Dr Kanyenze made the remark in his presentation at the Just Business conference last week organised by the US Embassy and the American Business Association of Zimbabwe to promote trade between the US and Zimbabwe. Read more

INDIA: Rupee climbs to 12 against dirham

Expatriate remittances from the UAE to India has slowed down as the Indian currency has appreciated substantially due to widening interest rate difference between India, US, Europe and other countries.

Money exchanges in the UAE, which are normally active during the early month salary days, are seeing a considerable decline in business as the Indian rupee and UAE dirhams exchange rate fell to Rs12 on Sunday. Read more

Kenya woos diaspora to invest at home

Kenya is missing out on a potentially huge investment cash inflow from its nationals abroad who do not get information on opportunities in the country, a new government commissioned study has established.

Preliminary results from a study by the International Organisation for Migration for the government found that about 60 per cent of Kenyans living in the UK do not get information on how they can invest their money locally.

This is despite the group having significant financial muscle, as evidenced by millions of dollars in remittances that the group sends to friends and relatives back home every month.

Read more

SOMALIA: Without the diaspora, the private sector would fold

Somalia has been engulfed in civil war for 20 years, resulting in the collapse of central state institutions, the destruction of social and economic infrastructure and massive internal and external migration.

However, despite the absence of a state and its financial, economic and social institutions, the traditional Somali spirit of entrepreneurship remains strong and the private sector resilient and robust.

Indeed, the private sector has managed to grow impressively, particularly in the areas of trade, commerce, transport, remittance services and telecommunications, as well as in the primary sectors, notably in livestock, agriculture and fisheries. Read more


Around $300 million was brought into the country in 2006 in remittances and this has been used to pull people out of poverty.

That is the sentiment of leading economist, Professor Warden Narsey while launching the preliminary report on Poverty and household income in Fiji in 2008-2009.

Professor said that such huge amounts of remittances have strongly counter balanced the impact of declining Gross Domestic Product per capita for Fiji and therefore should not be overlooked.

Read more