Global digital money transfer service now wants a slice of Kenya’s diaspora remittances running into billions

The direct partnership marks the culmination of years of rapidly growing volumes of international money transfers to M-PESA accounts by WorldRemit users.

WorldRemit, a digital money transfer service, has signed a partnership with Safaricom to enable instant cross-border money transfers to 28.6 million M-PESA mobile money accounts in Kenya.

The direct partnership marks the culmination of years of rapidly growing volumes of international money transfers to M-PESA accounts by WorldRemit users and supports the company’s plan to serve 10 million customers connected to emerging markets by 2020.

Our direct integration with Safaricom comes as both companies recognise the impressive growth in international remittances to M-PESA accounts and WorldRemit’s leading position in sending to mobile money.

Our partnership will enable us to work even more closely to serve customers abroad and back home in Kenya, offering its 3 million strong diaspora access to our best in class money transfer experience.”  Sharon Karuga Kinyanjui, Head of East & Central Africa at WorldRemit said.

Through WorldRemit, Kenyans abroad can now send money to Kenya through bank deposit, cash pickup, mobile money transfer and as airtime.

The global digital money transfer service founded by entrepreneur Ismail Ahmed in 2010, already works with financial partners such as KCB Bank, Barclays, Equity Bank, Standard Chartered, National Bank, Co-operative Bank, Upesi Money Transfer, DTB Bank and now Safaricom.

“Every day, M-PESA empowers more than 28.6 million customers with diverse financial capabilities to send and receive money, and to make seamless payments. Partnerships have been the cornerstone of this transformation and we are glad to have WorldRemit as a key partner to provide our customers with a world-class remittance experience.”   Sitoyo Lopokoyit, Director of Financial Services at Safaricom added.

With a diaspora of half a million living in the US, UK and France, remittances are playing an increasingly important role in Kenya’s economy.

A decade ago, Kenyans abroad sent home $645 million. Today, the World Bank now estimates that Kenya receives nearly $2 billion in remittances annually — a nearly 200% increase in ten years.

Kenyans for instance sent home a record Sh26.8 billion ($266.2 million) in June 2018 compared to Sh25.5 billion ($253.7 million) they sent in May.

Kenya is currently the 4th largest remittance recipient in Africa and, according to the Central Bank of Kenya diaspora remittances have overtaken revenue from tea, coffee, and tourism as the top foreign exchange earner.

WorldRemit customers currently make over a million money transfers to Kenya each year.

WorldRemit, which has secured $220 million in funding, currently sends from 50 countries to over 145 destinations.

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