Remittances in Africa; current crisis and future prospects
The conference’s main objective was to raise the profile of international remittances in Africa by focusing on three main issues, namely
- offering expert analysis of trends and patterns of these flows in Africa, especially given the significance of the financial crisis;
- sharing experiences and lessons learned from other regions of the world; and
- identifying policy solutions that can improve the remittance transfer environment to Africa.
The remittances marketplace
The Forum discussed patterns and challenges in the marketplace for transfers to Africa, as well as a comparative review of the experiences in other world regions. The discussion departed from a closer look to the main findings of the study (such as constrained competition and exclusive agreements).
The Forum reviewed the trends in the regulatory environment that governs money transfers, focusing on the global context, as well as Africa, and the European Union specifically. The session examineed challenges and solutions identified from experience worldwide.
Financial intermediation and inclusion
Speakers discussed the link between remittances and financial access with a focus on the African experience as well as comparative experiences elsewhere.
Issues to address included current patterns of financial intermediation to remittance recipients, factors that constrain financial institutions and other banking institutions from offering financial products, particularly in rural areas, and efforts to strengthen financial inclusion. The panel departed from an analysis of the results of the study Sending money home to Africa: Remittance markets, enabling environment and prospects
The Forum highlighted Africa’s leading role in innovative and development-driven remittance transfer methods and products that are reshaping the ability of financial services to reach rural areas. It discussed the role of technology in deepening the marketplace and stimulating competition, its role in closing the gap between rural remittance recipients and financial services, and the challenges that lie ahead as technology takes the place of brick-and-mortar establishments.
Remittances and rural development
Migration and remittances are the human face of globalization and the time has come to move from studying it in the abstract to truly maximizing its impact.
The forum brought together the stakeholders central to achieving real advances in rural development. Whether it be donors, companies, legislative or regulatory actors or migrant organization, there is still a long way to go before synergies are achieved.