January 17, 2017.- Remittance flows to and within Africa amounted to more than US$65 billion in 2016 and are expected to grow to US$80 billion by 2020. These flows represent a lifeline for more than 200 million people.
Despite their importance, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most costly region in the world to send remittances to, with an average cost of 9.5 per cent compared to a global average of 7.4 per cent.
African postal networks, which already enjoy a high level of trust among rural people, may be one way of providing much-needed financial services as well as reducing remittances transaction costs. In some cases, post offices already provide remittance services in Africa, offering rates as low as 5 per cent. But in general, African postal networks lack resources and expertise to make a bigger impact on the remittance market and the lives of rural families.
IFAD is hoping to change that. Through the African Postal Financial Services Initiative, IFAD is leading the modernization of post offices across Madagascar, Benin, Senegal, and Ghana, not only facilitating the transfer of migrants' remittances but supporting access to crucial financial services, such as savings and access to credit.