Mobile operating giant Airtel Africa announced yesterday, Monday, that the mobile money service will now enable cross-border transactions for its subscribers on its network in Zambia, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.
Speaking at the launch, CEO of Airtel Africa, Christian de Faria said, “This offering will raise the level of convenience in cross border payments across the 3 countries with a ubiquitous Airtel Money agency network and highly competitive fee structure.” (We are still waiting for exact fee values for Zambia)
Mr Faria added that the move was to ‘increase financial inclusion and regional trade opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa, and Airtel Money offers a secure, cost-effective and quick way of helping the communities enhance both trade and personal financial transactions’, a thing we’re so far behind in in Africa as most people prefer to keep their money in their pockets, or at home.
The initiative has been launched to provide competitive remittance rates seeing as Africa has some of the highest in the world! According to a report by the World Bank, they found that most of the fees charged for transfers are so high for the amounts of money being sent, the incomes of the senders.
If countries reduced remittance fees there would be more money left for the sender hence improving his income slightly, and in the end, improving general wellfare. The World Bank suggested that if transfer fees are reduced to even 5 percentage points below the amount current amounts, the value of receipts of transfer fees would increase by up to $16 billion dollars!
A lot of people remain unbanked in Zambia, and Africa as a whole, because bank charges may be too high, they may be too far for them to access, or they may not have the necessary documentation to open an account at all, especially in the case of immigrants.
Less money in your pockets really isn’t all that bad if you have it safely stored in a mobile money account and can still make your payments from the comfort of your home. Plus, most goods and services can be paid for using the mobile money platform these days. You can view Airtel Zambia’s current transfer fees by clicking here.