Digital Frontiers

International Remittances

ARTICLES

Remittances and Financial Inclusion: “Sending Money Home” in the COVID Era

CFI spoke with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) about the explosive growth of digital remittances in recent months, the drive to lower transaction fees, support for scaling digital innovation, and more. This is the second in an occasional series of interviews with professionals from development finance institutions, international financial institutions, and donor agencies…

Enhancing Cross-border Payments: Building Blocks of a Global Roadmap

The G20 has made enhancing cross-border payments a priority during the 2020 Saudi Arabian Presidency. Faster, cheaper, more transparent and more inclusive cross-border payment services would deliver widespread benefits for citizens and economies worldwide, supporting economic growth, international trade, global development and financial inclusion. This CPMI report, and its accompanying technical background report, represent the output…

Covid-19 and Remittances in Africa

The spread of Covid-19 and ‘stay at home’ measures in response to it are dramatically reshaping global societies and economies. This report from the European Commission contributes to understanding the potential economic implications of the Covid-19 crisis by focusing on its implications for migrant remittances in Africa. Large declines in remittance inflows could affect the…

Remittances in Times of Crisis: Facing the Challenges of COVID-19

On 19 March 2020, the Secretary-General of the United Nations called for an urgent and coordinated response from the international community to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Five days later, the Remittance Community Task Force (RCTF) was launched by Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development (GFRID) 2020 co-organizers, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD),…

COVID-19 Changing the Landscape for Migrants and Remittances

The pandemic’s effect on the flow of global remittances sent by migrants back home to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is projected to be one of sharp decline – a fall by about one fifth this year. The estimated 20 per cent slump represents US$ 109 billion in 2020. The hardship of COVID-19 felt by migrants…

Is There a Case for For-Purpose Remittances?

This report from Cenfri reveals the findings from their qualitative and quantitative research with remittance senders who live in the United Kingdom and send remittances to either Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria or Uganda. Remittances act as key sources of financial support for households: They reduce the likelihood of impoverishment, contribute to improved health and education, and provide…

How Cross-border Payments are Evolving

The ability to send and receive fast, transparent and trackable cross-border payments is a key driver to success in global business and trade. The correspondent banking community has made giant leaps forward to meet the requirements of global companies in 2019. This ebook from SWIFT explores how cross-border payments have progressed and utilising the following advancements:…

An Analysis of Trends in Cost of Remittances Worldwide

This is the most recent report from the Remittance Prices Worldwide website. The September 2019 report analyses global, regional and country specific trends in the cost of international remittances.

Payment Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa

Cenfri explored national and regional payment systems in sub-Saharan Africa, and produced a two-part series identifying key themes that will facilitate remittances, including regulations and overcoming barriers. The series also explores some case-studies and gives guidelines for payment system development. You can read the series here

A Policy Framework for Innovative Cross-Border Remittances in Africa

Accounting for almost half (135) of global mobile money deployments (276), Africa has huge potential to leverage digital financial services to make cross-border remittances cheaper and more efficient. The framework for cross-border remittances aims to address the cost and efficiency challenges of remittances in Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is the most expensive remittance corridor in…

Where are the flows? Exploring barriers to remittances in sub-Saharan Africa

Remittances play a critical role in facilitating financial flows to Sub-Saharan Africa. The value of formal remittances sent into the region is no longer growing, many are using informal channels die to the high cost of sending funds from outside and within the region. Cenfri in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID) and Financial Sector Deepening Africa…

Remittance Prices Worldwide

The World Bank put together a summary of remittances prices, tracking average cost over time, by type and by region. Download the report here and see some of the global trends and differences.

The Future of Digital Payments In Europe

This White Paper provides an essential appraisal of the key trends in this rapidly developing marketplace, highlighting the primary factors shaping growth and assessing the opportunities presented by emerging payment mechanisms. It also presents a series of recommendations for current and prospective players across the payments value chain.

Sending Money Home: Contributing to the SDGs, one family at a time

This report by IFAD provides data and analysis of remittances and migration trends for developing countries over the past decade, as well as the potential contributions of remittance families to reaching the SDGs by 2030.

Cost of sending money from the UK to Africa

This Remittances Infographic produced by FSD Africa shows the varied cost of transferring money from UK to Africa. Kenya, South Africa, Morocco and Egypt have some of the lower costs, whilst a remittances to Tanzania and Ethiopia paid the highest prices.  

Reducing Costs and Scaling Up UK to Africa Remittances Through Technology

Over the past two decades, there has been a digital revolution with pioneering developments in the form of the internet, email and mobile phones transforming the way information is accessed and communication takes place. For many market analysts, cross-border payments are the next frontier, where innovative technologies will challenge the expensive, clunky business models that…

Driving a price revolution: Mobile money in international remittances

In August 2016, the GSMA commissioned an independent data collection exercise to assess the impact of mobile money on reducing the cost of remittances.   The results show that mobile money is driving a price revolution in international remittances. It is doing this by increasing competition, leveraging existing networks and infrastructure, and capturing smaller remittance…

Mobile money crosses borders: New remittance models in West Africa

A promising new model is emerging for cross-border remittances with mobile money as both the sending and the receiving channel. This paper from GSMA draws commercial insights from two early examples in the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU), where member states are socio-economically integrated and adoption of mobile money has been rapid in recent…

Africa Payments: Insights into African transaction flows

‘Africa is rising’ is a powerful phrase these days. The rising middle class will undoubtedly help to drive up demand for consumer goods, creating the business case for African firms to upgrade their production processes and expand their businesses. As Africa pursues deeper economic integration, facilitation of payments across borders and integration of financial markets…

Remittances and markets in Somalia

Each year, Somali migrants around the world send approximately $1.3 billion to Somalia. Of that, approximately $215 million comes from SomaliAmericans and Somalis in the United States—comparable to the total amount of development and humanitarian assistance that the US government sent to Somalia in fiscal year 2012 ($242 million). These flows, facilitated by SomaliAmerican money…

Remittance Markets in Africa

A substantive literature suggests that migration generates benefits for migrants, the host societies, and the countries of origin. The economic benefits for the countries of origin are realized primarily through the receipt of remittances. These large and stable resource flows remained relatively resilient during the global financial crisis compared to steep declines in private capital…

Remittances in Africa

Remittances in Africa is a review that catalogues the main studies, policy, and technical assistance programs undertaken on remittances in Africa that have been carried out by the World Bank, development partners, and governments in order to provide support leading up to the creation of the African Institute for Remittances (AIR) project.  The review of…

Social Media and Remittances

An industry first, the new functionality connects senders and receivers through their Facebook friend list, enabling them to exchange details immediately and links them to the Azimo app to make a transfer, all within a few simple clicks. With social networks connecting billions of people across the globe, the integration harnesses the widespread use and…

International remittances the next big thing in mobile payments

The World Bank estimates that in 2011 more than USD 483 billion was sent internationally through official remittance channels with the bulk of that – $351 billion – going to developing countries. It projects that the total will rise to $593 billion by 2014, with $441 billion going to developing countries. The amount that flows…

Facilitating Cross-Border Mobile Banking in Southern Africa

This Africa Trade Policy Note provides a description of the supply side factors influencing the development of mobile banking services –remittances and informal trade, and the financial and telecommunications landscape. It highlights the key regulatory issues facing Southern African countries, and concludes with recommendations for overcoming the constraints to the development of accessible mbanking in…

Financial Inclusion, Mobile Banking, and Remittances in Mexico and the Philippines

Remittance senders evaluate the costs and benefits of money transfer services. Two conditions are of paramount interest: low costs and accessibility of use for the sender and receiver. The use of mobile phones (a ubiquitous technology) for sending money, paying for services, and banking is increasingly seen not only as the best option for remittances,…

Five years of the Financing Facility for Remittances and the road ahead

More than 220 million people live outside the countries and communities they call home. The individual stories of those who leave their rural villages for cities and destinations abroad are stories of great dedication, but also of tremendous sacrifice. The ramifications of the personal decision to migrate have direct effects on development that reach far…

International Remittances through Branchless Banking

This study from CGAP examines the landscape for international remittances through branchless banking. The transfer of remittances through mobile phones or pre-paid cards are common examples that may not require a user to have a bank account.

How money remittance has leapfrogged Africa’s financial industry

Africa presents a minefield of opportunity for fintech companies due to the lack of legacy infrastructure. The formal market for money transfers in Africa is still relatively young and faces challenges typical of emerging markets including uncertainty regarding the volume of remittances, limited competition, higher transfer costs and a lack of technological innovations, with Kenya and South Africa being…

The Cross-border Money Transfer Experience

Why would a person choose to send a regional low value remittance from South Africa to any SADC country through the formal banking system in South Africa, be it through a telegraphic transfer (TT) or through the use of the Western Union or MoneyGram service now being offered by ABSA Bank, Standard Bank and Bidvest…

Mobile money crosses borders: New remittance models in West Africa

A promising new model is emerging for cross-border remittances with mobile money as both the sending and the receiving channel. This paper from the GSMA draws commercial insights from two early examples in the West African Economic Monetary Union (WAEMU), where member states are socio-economically integrated and adoption of mobile money has been rapid in…

Remittances and Development: Lessons from Latin America

Remittances are extremely important in the Latin American context.  What is the impact of these flows on the poverty levels of the different countries? Are there costs associated with remittances—and more significantly—to the migration that logically precedes remittances flows? What are the main challenges that policy makers face in countries experiencing a surge in remittances…

International Remittances and Financial Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa

This paper from the World Bank uses survey data, including about 10,000 households in five countries—Burkina Faso, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda—to investigate the link between international remittances and households’ financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa. The paper finds that receiving international remittances increases the probability that the household opens a bank account in all the…

International Remittance Considerations for Mobile Network Operators

Mobile network operators (MNOs) are becoming increasingly interested in offering international remittances, often as a new transaction type added to an existing mobile money service currently providing domestic transactions. This paper from the GSMA reviews the international remittance market, the opportunity for MNOs, and the technical, legal, commercial, and operational considerations for any new player…

Remittance Prices Worldwide

This website from World Bank provides data on the cost of sending and receiving small amounts of money from one country to another. Called remittances, these international transfers are often initiated by migrant workers. The aggregate cash flows and the number of participants are enormous. In fact, the World Bank estimates that remittances totaled $575 billion…

The Cost of Sending Remittances: Data

Each quarter the World Bank publishes data on how much it costs to send money home. The Remittance Prices Worldwide database monitors the cost of sending remittances in major international corridors, which includes 227 country corridors — 32 remittance sending countries to 89 remittance receiving countries. The international community, led by the World Bank, started…

Mobile-Enabled Cross-Border Payments

This guideline note from afi begins with a brief description of four different mechanisms for facilitating mobile-enabled cross-border payments. This is followed by a discussion of two types of mobile-enabled cross-border payment services: (1) those in which an m-money wallet is used to receive funds; and (2) those in which an m-money wallet is used…

Sending and receiving remittances with mobile money: Customer benefits and the potential to drive down cost

The mobile money industry plays a key role within the global remittances space. This post from the GSMA focuses on the customer benefits of sending and receiving international remittances using mobile money. More than 250 million people (or 3.4% of the global population) live outside their countries of birth. Migrants often send money back home,…

International Remittance Service Providers

This report from the GSMA gives an overview  of mobile International Remittance Service Provider service offerings, ecosystem, provider models and considerations for partnerships.  

Landscape Study on International Remittances through Mobile

CGAP’s  commissioned a ‘refresh’ on an earlier landscaping study for international remittances through mobile money. Read more here. 

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) Cooperative Governance for Network Innovation, Standards, and Community

This book traces the history and development of a mutual organization in the financial sector called SWIFT, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. Over the last forty years, SWIFT has served the financial services sector as proprietary communications platform, provider of products and services, standards developer, and conference organizer (“Sibos”). Founded to create efficiencies…

Lost in Intermediation: How Excessive Charges Undermine the Benefits of Remittances for Africa

This paper by the Overseas Development Institution makes the case for putting remittances at the centre of international cooperation on development. It is divided into four parts. The first looks at the level of remittances to Africa and at the drivers of migration. Part 2 provides a summary overview of evidence on the benefits of…

General Principles for International Remittance Services

In recent years, various organisations have tackled issues related to the important topic of international remittances. However, few of these reports have been devoted specifically to the “payment system aspects” of remittances – in effect, the practical realities of actually transferring money. Understanding these payment system aspects is crucial to understanding remittances and to ensuring…