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Whatsapp Messenger in Lagos, Nigeria, Africa. Photo credit: Benjamin Dada

Migrant remittances to West Africa now main source of foreign income

Migrant remittances are fast becoming the main source of external finance in West African countries, a study on funding from France to Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Senegal, showed.

Published: November 19, 2020, 10:12 am

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    This main source of funding is being threatened by the Covid-19 pandemic however, which has almost immobilized the global economy.

    MicroSave Consulting in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation published the results while also offerings recommendations to encourage remittances as a lever for financial inclusion. In the three African countries, the international transfer market represented $3,7 billion in 2018 according to the World Bank.

    The study’s recommendations also highlighted the importance of developing digital financial services that meet the needs of senders and their families.

    Financial education and the provision of financial services at affordable costs could contribute to the financial inclusion of African populations, money transfer service providers, their networks and their platforms, in particular to increase the usefulness of transfers to Africans, the study noted.

    In 2019, global remittances were estimated at $554 billion. With the Coronavirus, these global transfers are expected to decrease by 20 percent in 2020 and a second wave could impact remittances even more.

    The authors of the study said that digital channels could reduce the cost of sending remittances, but efforts should be made to inform senders of the existence of these channels. Among the migrants surveyed in France, only 15,5 percent used digital channels, such as the mobile app, mobile money or bank transfer.

    The study noted in particular the possibility of actively targeting payment streams related to health, insurance and education.

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