21 Jun GSM Association (GSMA)
International remittances offer a vital lifeline to one billion migrants and their families seeking to build resilience in times of crisis. On the occasion of the International Day of Family Remittances, the GSMA would like to highlight how the remittance industry, including mobile money providers, has come together to ensure that remittances continue to flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Remittances are an important private source of capital. Remittance flows are three times the level of official development assistance into low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and exceeded foreign direct investment (FDI) into these countries for the first time in 2019.1 Despite a predicted fall of 20 per cent this year, remittances are set to become an even more important international financial flow into LMICs with FDI set to fall by 35 per cent over the same period2. Mobile money-enabled remittances are an ever more important digital channel by which migrants can send remittances safely and cheaply with transaction values growing by a third over 2019.
To enable the continued smooth flow of remittances, mobile money providers have taken a number of temporary emergency measures including removing transaction fees, increasing account limits, simplifying know-your-customer (KYC) procedures as well as promoting agent hygiene and social distancing practices. These measures, taken in conjunction with local regulators, have helped liquidity flow during the crisis and ensure that migrants and their families have access to this vital source of finance.
As a core member of the Remittance Community Task Force, the GSMA has, together with participants of the public and private sector, contributed to raising awareness of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on migrants and their families. As part of that, the task force has issued recommendations for UN member countries and policymakers to consider complementing the private sector’s actions, including promoting a more enabling regulatory environment and endorsing a risk-based approach to anti-money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism. The output of the task force also echoed the GSMA’s own mobile money policy recommendations in response to the COVID-19 crises to ensure that emergency measures were effective in building resilience and were sustainable over the medium to longer term.
Mobile money remains the cheapest method of sending international remittances with the average cost of sending $200 using mobile money well below the UN’s SDG 10.c target. To ensure that migrants and their families continue to have access to faster, safer and cheaper remittances, the GSMA looks forward to maintaining dialogue with the task force and wider industry participants through this crisis and beyond.
For more information on the GSMA’s industry initiatives on international remittances, including a wealth of research and knowledge products, visit gsma.com/internationalremittances.
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with almost 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.
The GSMA’s Mobile Money programme works to accelerate the development of the mobile money ecosystem for the underserved.
For more information, please contact us: Web: www.gsma.com/mobilemoney Twitter: @GSMAMobileMoney Email: [email protected]