3 December 2012

Rwanda: Reducing Remittance Fees Vital for Developing Countries

Photo: Maria Font de Matas/IRIN
A migrant worker (file photo).


A new report indicates that costs of sending remittances to low developed countries are as high as 20 per cent of the amount transferred which is about a third more than the global average.

This is contained in the Least Developed Countries Report 2012 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released last week.

Remittances sent to sub-Saharan Africa in 2010 could have generated an additional $6 billion for recipients if remittance costs had matched the global average, according to estimates.

With remittances from Rwandans living abroad standing at $80 million within the first six months of the year, reducing transfer costs could see this figure easily rise or even double.

This is the kind of money that least developed countries could easily get without facing challenges of aid that comes with strings attached.

There is no doubt about the economic impact the remittances would have on the Rwandan economy for example.

It can go to improving health care, infrastructure and reduce unemployment.

It is worth noting that a well co-ordinated approach to address issues of the high charges on remittances by people in Diaspora has the potential to boost the economic base of the recipient countries.

There is, therefore, every reason for the governments to push for reduced costs of remittances.

Issues that affect people in Diaspora, including how to send remittances back home, should be given attention as remittances are an important source of funding.

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