ZAMBIA receives £7million every year from diaspora Zambians in the United Kingdom (UK) in remittance, a new research published at the Global Remittance Conference in New York yesterday has disclosed.

And the research has also reviewed that sending money to Africa is more expensive than anywhere else in the world.

The report was commissioned by Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSD Africa) and written by Developing Markets Associates (DMA).

Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ) chief executive officer Betty Wilkinson said in Zambia, £7 million was sent each year by 30,897 Zambians living in the UK.

Ms Wilkinson said the average cost of sending £120 from the UK to Zambia is 13 per cent, one of the highest average cost in the region, and almost twice as much as sending money to neighbouring Zimbabwe, where it costs just seven per cent.

She said the report argued that existing technology like regional automated clearing houses, remittance payment processing hubs and aggregators could all make sending money from the UK to Africa much cheaper.

This is contained in a statement released in Lusaka yesterday by FSDZ senior communications officer Nkatya Kabwe.

“The report shows that the average cost of sending money to Africa is
almost 10 per cent , compared to the global average of just over seven per cent.

“Yet the UN Sustainable Development Goals say that by 2030 the global average price for remittances should not exceed three per cent of face value, with even the most expensive countries not being more than five per cent,” Ms Wilkinson said.

She said the report showed that one and a half million people in the UK send over four billion pounds to Africa every year but it also revealed that nine out of ten of these transactions were carried out using cash and only one in twenty was initiated online.

Ms Wilkinson said the report argued that international development donors should support a pilot project to enable UK based remittance service providers to access Southern Africa through Southern African Development Community (SADC’s) integrated regional electronic settlement system, through which 95 banks serve 11 Southern African countries.

“It’s more expensive to send money to Africa than anywhere else in the world. But it doesn’t have to be like that. The way we stay in touch, do our shopping, and even the ways in which some of us find love, have all gone digital.

“Yet, for the vast majority of people sending money home to friends and family in Africa, they are still doing it the way they have always done it: in cash, ” Ms Wilkinson said.

DMA Chief executive officer Leon Isaacs said the real challenges
contributing to higher costs of sending money from the UK to Africa were not fixable by new technologies alone.

“Instead, we need to focusing on scaling existing technology, creating the regulatory environments for those technologies and on changing consumer behaviour to make the sending of money digital from ‘end-to-end’,” he said.

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