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South African bank notes featuring images of former South African President Nelson Mandela (R) are displayed next to the American dollar notes in this photo illustration in Johannesburg August 13 2014. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

WorldRemit says demand for its remittance services to Zimbabwe continues to grow at an accelerated rate and reports say the volumes of foreign currency flow into the country through the company’s channels doubled in the last six months. This is notwithstanding an earlier World Bank forecast that in the wake of the Covid-19 economic crisis, remittance flows to sub-Saharan Africa would fall by 23,1 percent. Instead, indications are the figures continue to grow.

According to latest figures from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Zimbabwe recorded a 33 percent upturn in Diaspora remittances to US$466,2 million as at July 31, 2020 compared to US$349,7 million at the same time last year.

Last year, Diaspora remittances to the country grew by 2,6 percent to US$635 million from US$619 million recorded in 2018. And latest indications are that last year’s numbers can be improved upon. The company reports that this accelerated growth is driven by the number of cash collection points being made available during Covid-19 period.

Key partnerships have been formed with companies such as Mukuru and more recently OK Zimbabwe in a bid to increase its customer footprint into both rural and peri-urban areas and to further extend trading hours.

Pardon Mujakachi, head of sub-Saharan Africa and country director for Zimbabwe at WorldRemit said: “We are continuously looking at how we respond to the increasing demand for our product in the diaspora and innovate payout options for customers at home.

Read: Zimdollar maintains steady ground as blackmarket struggles to survive

“The customer demand creates the opportunity for growth and the expansion of our footprint especially in the hard to reach areas of Zimbabwe. Our aim is to ensure that everyone everywhere has access to our service”.

Millions of Zimbabweans in the diaspora are driving the exponential growth as they increasingly embrace the benefits of the digital platform offered by WorldRemit. The money transfer service is said to offer the lowest fees to Zimbabwe from over 50+ send countries including the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

“Our digital model offers customers the convenience to transact on the go whilst providing a fast and affordable experience for sending money home to their loved ones,” Mr Mujakachi added.

In partnership with OK Zimbabwe and powered by Countitouch Technologies, WorldRemit has launched a new payout service that allows Zimbabweans to now receive remittances, instantly shop and collect cash from across 64 OK Zimbabwe store locations.

“This retail partnership with OK Zimbabwe — powered by Countitouch Technologies is a first of its kind for us. Our first retail partner offers a cash guarantee with the convenience, speed and security we offer our customers, resulting in every day being a remittance day,” said Mr Mujakachi.

OK Zim has a footfall of approximately 70 million people visiting their retail stores per month, six days a week. Currently open from 8am to 630pm, WorldRemit customers can send remittances 24/7 and their recipients can receive cash with more convenience and choice across a network of over 80 branches.

Post pandemic, OK Zimbabwe stores will extend its trading hours from 8am to 8pm, 7 days per week.

Mr Mujakachi adds: “Our extensive cash collection network, flexible cash collection hours and lower fees, offer value for money to our customers. This proves we are the most affordable means of sending money to Zimbabwe.” Herald

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