Experts meet in Kenya to tackle high cost of sending remittances to Africa-Xinhua

Experts meet in Kenya to tackle high cost of sending remittances to Africa

Source: Xinhua| 2024-06-07 22:43:15|Editor: huaxia

NAIROBI, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Experts convened Friday in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, to discuss ways to reduce the cost of sending diaspora remittances to Africa.

The digital remittances cost reduction conference gathered more than 100 delegates, including senior government officials, United Nations agencies, money transfer operators, mobile network operators, financial technology companies and financial institutions from around the world, to explore strategies for decreasing remittance costs for Africans living abroad.

Susan Koech, deputy governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), said "Even as remittance costs have reduced over time, corridors such as those in the East African Community region remain higher than in other regions." She noted that the cost of sending money to Kenya still exceeds the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of 3 percent.

According to CBK data, remittance inflows to Kenya, a major source of foreign exchange, reached 4.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2023. Remittance transfers increased 20 percent in the first four months of 2024 compared to the same period last year.

Ronald Ajengo, country program coordinator for Kenya at the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), emphasized the need for public and private sector collaboration to make remittances cheaper, faster and safer to harness their potential for sustainable development. "This financial flow is crucial for achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), promoting sustainable development, and reducing poverty," Ajengo added.

Killian Clifford, a senior specialist in migrant financial and economic empowerment at the United Nations' International Organization of Migration (IOM), said that digitalizing remittances, particularly through mobile money networks, would help reduce costs, improve access and advance financial inclusion in Africa.

Isaiya Kabira, secretary of remittances and entrepreneurship at the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, said that fluctuating currency exchange rates in Kenya can lead to significant foreign exchange losses for those remitting money.

Kabira also pointed out that barriers to digital remittance services and financial services persist, especially for marginalized communities and those in rural areas.