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Observance Ceremony and Recognitions
09:30 am (GMT+3), Nairobi, Kenya
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The IFAD-led IDFR campaign aims at ensuring support for the observance and dissemination of resulting actions in the framework of the decennial #FamilyRemittances Campaign 2020‑2030: Support one billion people to reach their own SDGs.

In that timeframe, through a spotlight on yearly themes aligned to the global development agenda, the campaign aims at strengthening and guiding stakeholders on the new trends and priorities that maximize the impact of remittances among vulnerable people, where these flows count more.

The theme of the 2023-2024 #FamilyRemittances campaign, “Digital remittances towards financial inclusion and cost reduction”, recognizes the positive impact of digital remittances not only on reducing transfer costs but also on enabling financial and digital inclusion amongst the most vulnerable groups of senders and recipients.

According to World Bank data,  remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are estimated to grow by 1.4% to US$656 billion in 2023.  However, the adoption of digital means as a solution to achieve low-cost, safe and fast remittance transfer is still far from having universal reach. Average remittance transfer costs continue to remain at above 6 per cent globally, well above the SDG 10c target of 3 per cent. In contrast, mobile money remains the least costly transfer method at 3.73 per cent. While GSMA estimates indicate that mobile remittances alone increased substantially in 2022, they represent less than 3 per cent of all global flows.

Barriers of cost, transparency, security and convenience to send money home still remain, hindering the full transformational potential of these flows.

In recent years, the digitalization of remittances has been instrumental in addressing these barriers, whether through online channels, mobile channels or a combination of both. Beyond the reduction of costs, remittance digitalization bolsters linkages with other digital financial services, building longer-term financial resilience for remittance users. In addition, leveraging the linkages between remittances and financial inclusion presents an opportunity to create a convergence between the financial goals of remittance families and the commercial strategies of financial service providers.

Digital channels typically eliminate the need for a physical money transfer location, which is often inconvenient or inaccessible for people, especially during times of crisis and for those living in rural areas. Digital transfers are also faster than traditional money transfer methods. This means reducing the time and costs associated with sending and receiving money.

Besides being faster, the rise of digital channels can also be attributed to the greater transparency offered by digital remittances around the fees, exchange rates, and other costs associated with sending and receiving money. This allows users to make informed decisions and helps to prevent hidden fees or unexpected charges.

Regarding financial inclusion, digitalization offers many advantages:

  • Remittances are often the first point of contact to a financial service. Remittances can leverage other financial services, such as savings, credit, insurance or housing.
  • Saving and investing is a primary way for remittance-receiving families to reduce their vulnerability and to secure a more stable future.
  • Even though the majority of remittance families live outside the formal financial system, it is estimated that up to two-thirds of senders are still able to save and about 15 per cent of the remittances they send are used for income-generating activities.
  • On the receiving end, migrant families also save. It is estimated that at least 10 per cent is saved every year, much of it informally.
  • Remittance recipients are not typical microfinance clients. Despite their higher resilience to financial shocks, they require differentiated services from financial service providers that are still not fully available, particularly in rural areas.

IDFR Observance

Through the IDFR observance, the United Nations aims to bring greater awareness about the impact that remittances have on millions of households, entire communities and countries. The Day also calls upon governments, private sector entities and the civil society to contribute to maximizing the impact of remittances through individual and collective actions.

This year, the IDFR was observed in conjunction with the GFRID Summit 2023 at the United Nations Office at Nairobi, Kenya.

The observance theme focused on the benefits that digital and financial inclusion bring when linked to remittances in helping remittance families achieve their own SDGs.

Statement videos

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Marcelo Pisani, Regional Director for South America, IOM
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Nicolas Vonthron, CEO, Mama Money
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António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration
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Union des Ambassadeurs
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Banco Atlantida
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Money Service Business Association (MSBA)
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Achim Steiner, Adminstrator, UNDP
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Prof Binod Khadria, President, GRFDT
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Maximo Torero, Chief Economist, FAO
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Khurshid Zafar, Chief Operations Officer, Ansari Bank
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Alan Marquard, Executive VP, Transfer Solutions at Mastercard
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José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Secretary, ECLAC
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Ashley Olson Onyango, Head of Financial Inclusion & AgriTech, GSMA
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Leon Isaacs, CEO, DMAG

Statement Letters

Mats Granryd, GSMA
Shoaib Mumtaz, MCB Bank Limited
Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) 
United Nations Network on Migration
Kennedy Kipkemboi, GSMA
Felix Quaicoe, Remcash
Brian Muriu, Tulix
Tanzania Commercial Bank
Zachary Levey, Levoca
Hugo Brauwers, Foreign Affairs Belgium
Veronica Studsgaard, IAMTN
Tomisin Salam, FiatMatch inc.
Aizid Razzaq Gill, Allied Bank