The Star (Nairobi)

30 January 2013

Africa: Remittances to Africa Are the World's Most Expensive.

African migrants spend more to send money home than other migrant groups, according to new World Bank survey.

The average cost of sending money to Africa is almost 12 per cent, which is higher than the global average of 8.96 per cent, and almost double the cost of sending money to South Asia which has the world's lowest prices at 6.54 per cent.

According to data from the Send Money Africa database Sub-Saharan Africa is the most expensive region to send money to, with average remittance costs reaching 12.4 per cent in 2012.

In 2012 alone, 30 million African migrants sent close to $60 billion (Sh5.28 trillion) in remittances to 120 million recipients. Remittances to Kenya grew by 8.4 percent to $105.7 million in 2012 compared to $97.5 million recorded in December 2011.

"Governments should implement policies to open the remittances market up to competition," said Massimo Cirasino, World Bank manager of the Financial Infrastructure and Remittances Service Line.

The findings conclude that bringing remittance costs down to 5 per cent from the current average cost of 12.4 per cent would put US$ 4 billion (Sh352 billion) back in the pockets of Africa's migrants and their families.

The G8 and the G20 established 5 per cent as the target average remittance price to reach by 2014

South Africa, Tanzania, and Ghana are the most expensive recipient countries in Africa, with prices averaging 20.7 per cent, 19.7 per cent, and 19.0 per cent respectively

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