Second African Conference on Remittances and Postal Networks, Abidjan (Côte dIvoire)(DEMO)
IFAD Asset Request Portlet
Second African Conference on Remittances and Postal Networks, Abidjan (Côte d'Ivoire) (DEMO)
15 - 16 November 2016
In 2015, the African continent received an impressive US$65 billion in remittances from over 20 million of its citizens working abroad, contributing to the livelihood of their families and communities back home. Nevertheless, while the global average cost of sending remittances is at 7.6 per cent, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most costly region in the world to send remittances to, with an average cost of 9.5 per cent in 2016 and many of the most expensive remittance corridors.
Remittances flows to and within Africa continue to grow rapidly, but despite the magnitude of this market in Africa and its subsequent development impact, many factors such as high transaction costs, restricted rural payment networks, limited competition, and problematic regulatory environments prevent these financial flows from reaching their full development potential.
The role of post offices:
Post offices have a distinct comparative advantage in the remittance market in Africa. With a vast network of branches in remote towns and villages, coupled with a trained workforce, post offices provide remittance services (and in several countries also banking services) to rural Africans but they often lack the business model, technology and expertise to process real-time payments in an efficient and safe manner.
According to a recent baseline survey measuring the demand-side perspective about receiving and sending money via postal networks in peri-urban and rural areas, not only remittance transactions were among the main reasons for using post offices in Africa, but also, in the choice of a remittance services provider, proximity, and reliability of pay-out locations were even more relevant than transaction costs alone.
In conclusion, rural African population are largely enthusiastic about the possibility of receiving remittances through their post offices, especially if this will enable them to access a broader range of financial services.
The Second African Conference on Remittances and Postal Networks has been organized in the framework of the African Postal Financial Services Initiative, a joint regional programme launched by IFAD’s Financing Facility for Remittances (FFR) in collaboration with the World Bank, the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the World Savings Banks Institute/European Savings Banks Group (WSBI/ESBG) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), and co-financed by the European Union. This unique partnership aims to enhance competition in the African remittance market by promoting, supporting and enabling post offices in Africa to offer remittance and financial services and to foster dialogue between stakeholders, regulators and policy-makers.
The Conference brought together postal institutions and all relevant stakeholders to share information on the trends and developments in the remittance markets in Africa and to build on the recommendations of the first conference held in Cape Town in March 2015. The event covered key topics such as the legal and institutional environment surrounding post offices and remittances, public and private partnerships, innovative technologies for financial inclusion, market positioning of postal operators and the various experiences on the ground. The conference also focused on the pilot projects currently under implementation in Benin, Ghana, Madagascar and Senegal, in order to share best practices and discuss ways to expand and scale up the pilots to other countries.
The Official Report will be available to the public in due course.