Kenyans abroad, biggest senders of mobile to mobile remittances

By Grace Maina/KNA

New data has shown that the Kenyan diaspora is the biggest sender of digital remittances to mobile accounts.

As M-Pesa turns 10, transfers to mobile money accounts make up 93 percent of WorldRemit transactions to Kenya now, showing that Kenyans continue to be early adopters of innovative technology, even when abroad.

Mobile money has played a key role in the growth of WorldRemit’s Kenyan customer base, attracted by the low price, speed and convenience of sending instant remittances from the App or website directly to a mobile phone in Kenya.

According to the data, 74 percent of all international remittances to mobile money accounts coming from money transfer operators are sent via WorldRemit.

In a press release Tuesday January 2017, WorldRemit customers transferred more than Sh14 billion (USD140 million) at an annualized rate to Kenya, making WorldRemit one of the largest remittance companies serving the Kenyan diaspora.

Founder and CEO at WorldRemit Ismail Ahmed said, “Kenya is famed for leading Africa’s digital transformation and today Kenyans abroad are at the forefront of digitising international money transfers. Most of our Kenyan customers use our mobile app, demonstrating the strong demand for convenience when sending to friends and family.”

He added said that with half a billion registered accounts worldwide, mobile money continues to transform lives by allowing people to access financial services for the first time.

“WorldRemit customers now send more than 65,000 transfers to the country every month from the WorldRemit app and website with over 90 percent going to M-Pesa,” Ahmed said.

Top remittance-sending countries are the UK, Australia, US, Germany, Canada and Nordic countries and with around three million Kenyans live abroad, large communities are in North America, Europe and Australia.

According to the data, remittances play an important role in Kenya’s economy with inward transmittals reaching  a record value of just under Sh16.1 billion ( USD161m) in November 2016, according to the Central Bank of Kenya, making it one of the nation’s top earners.

WorldRemit is now connected to over a fifth of all mobile money accounts – 112 million of 500 million mobile money accounts around the world.

The company has pioneered mobile to mobile remittances, sending to 32 mobile money services in 24 countries, more than any other money transfer service.

Globally, WorldRemit customers send more than 580,000 transfers every month to over 140 destinations. The global headquarters is in London, UK with regional offices in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.