ECOBANK Introduces Tech to Slash Cost of International Remittances

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Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO of Ecobank

-Boosting finances and convenience for Africans in the diaspora and their dependents

Ecobank says it is harnessing its digital expertise and innovation to bring efficiency and convenience to the international and intra-African remittance markets, while significantly reducing the costs to send funds.

The launch of the Rapidtransfer mobile app, the bank says, will enable Africans wherever they may be to easily and instantly send money to bank accounts, mobile wallets and cash collection in –and across – 33 African countries. As well as being intuitive, easy to navigate and multi-lingual with English, French, Spanish and Portuguese variants, the app provides simple and secure digital onboarding.

Users can choose how and when funds are delivered to the intended beneficiary, with transparent foreign exchange rates prior to each transaction. Charges range from 0% to 3% depending on the options the customer selects.

Commenting on the launch, Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO of Ecobank said: “Historically the cost of sending cross-border remittances in Africa has been far too high.

“Similarly, the process to send funds has long been inefficient and burdensome, with customers forced to physically go to an agent, and yet still have little or no clarity as to when the money will reach the recipient. The Rapidtransfer app remittance solution is a quick, easy and reliable digital solution that removes all of these issues. It is a game-changer for Africans with its sustainable and standout affordability.”

Mr. Ayeyemi went on to state that the app further demonstrates Ecobank’s commitment to enhancing the economic development and financial integration of the African continent.

“We know that remittance flows into and across Africa from migrants working away from home has an enormously beneficial impact in powering Africa’s domestic economies. By reducing the costs to send the money, Rapidtransfer ultimately enables the beneficiary to receive more of the funds originally sent to them, which in turn will have a multiplier effect on national economies by boosting demand and driving business growth.”

In the first quarter of 2018, the average cost of sending US$200 was 7.1 percent, and remittance services in Sub-Saharan Africa were the costliest in the world at an average cost of 9.4 percent. The international Sustainable Development Goal aims to reduce the average transaction cost of remittances to less than 3 percent of the remittance amount by 2030.

A substantial proportion of migrants financially support their dependents back home and the potential size of this remittance market is illustrated by the United Nations’ estimate that the number of international migrants, including refugees, was 258 million in 2017. Money transfers from migrant workers and others to all countries worldwide were US$613 billion in 2017 and those into Sub-Saharan Africa grew by US$4 billion to US$38 billion in 2017.

The importance of the inflow of remittances into many African countries cannot be underestimated. Remittances play a hugely important part of many national economies and their inflows represent 27 percent and 21 percent of Liberia and The Gambia’s Gross Domestic Product respectively. The Ecobank Rapidtransfer mobile app can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play, a press release said yesterday.

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