Enabling poor rural people
to overcome poverty

Improve efficiency in remittance transfers and improve access to financial services in rural areas of the southern region of Ecuador

Target group and area: Ecuadorian migrants living in Italy (Milan, Genoa), Spain (Madrid, Murcia) and the United States (New York) and the rural families receiving remittances in the southern region of Ecuador. The target corridors are Italy, Spain and the United States to Ecuador. Participating countries are Ecuador, Italy, Spain and USA.

Goal and objectives: The project seeks to improve channels for capturing and distributing remittances from sender country to beneficiary communities, to enhance efficiency, lower costs and facilitate linked services, to enable remittances to leverage investments for families and communities in Ecuador’s southern region. It aims to strengthen partnerships with financial institutions by promoting shared facilities in Italy, Spain and USA and enabling Jardín Azuayo to extend/improve its remittance transfer services.  

Background: After oil, remittances constitute the most important income-generating resource for Ecuador; about US$3,050 million enter the country annually (11 per cent of GDP, 29 per cent of export value). About 1.5 million Ecuadorians (15 per cent of the adult population) live on remittances from relative migrants who send about US$380 monthly. This is 60 per cent higher than the per capita of 40 per cent of the population. About 44 per cent of Ecuadorian migrants live in Spain, 38 per cent in USA and 10 per cent in Italy. 

For Ecuador, remittances are an important potential for development; they are a means to redistribute wealth and mitigate poverty for many Ecuadorians with low resources. Sixty-one per cent of remittances are used by beneficiaries for living expenses and 22 per cent are saved and invested.

These investments constitute about US$600 million annually, an important capital market that finances 30 per cent of investments in micro-enterprises in Ecuador.

Fifteen per cent of Ecuador’s population lives in the southern region. It consists of 51 per cent of Ecuadorian migrants and 61 per cent of remittances entering Ecuador or US$1,590 million. Sixty per cent of remittance beneficiaries live in the rural areas. Although remittances are financially and socially important, the remittance market is one of the least developed sectors. Jardín Azuayo has 30 offices in South Ecuador and 137,000 clients (16.3 per cent of the economically active population of Ecuador). Of these, 40 per cent are remittance beneficiaries.

Project activities/outputs: The project will iimprove channels to capture/distribute remittances from Italy, Spain and USA and to provide fast, economical services to remit funds to Ecuador; improve distribution of remittances, especially in rural areas based on the development of appropriate technology; and innovate financial services to enable remittances to leverage investment opportunities and generate employment activities.

The project will carry out three studies of the major channels used by Ecuadorian emigrants, establish partnerships with financial institutions to develop joint POS, payment facilities and online connections to allow migrants to send remittances to their families, train migrants on Jardín Azuayo’s activities and products, and promote remittance services to Ecuadorian migrants living in Italy, Spain and USA by means of migrants trained by the project.

Emigrants from Southern Ecuador living in Italy, Spain and USA will have access to better, faster and more economical cooperative services to remit funds to Ecuador. Ecuadorian migrants will be trained on financial services provided. Twenty thousand persons are estimated to become clients of the new services. At least 30 business projects for the target group will be identified and receive credit facilities from Jardín Azuayo. At least 30 initiatives especially in rural micro-enterprise will be developed.