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1 Send Money Africa sendmoneyafrica.worldbank.org October I ll The World Bank SMA is funded by the AIR Project This report 1 identifies and analyzes trends in the cost of sending money to and within Africa. The Send Money Africa (SMA) remittance prices database provides data on the cost of sending remittances from selected countries worldwide to a number of countries in Sub-Saharan and North Africa, as well as within the African continent. Send Money Africa is funded by the African Institute for Remittances (AIR) Project. The AIR Project is an initiative in which the World Bank and selected development partners (European Commission, African Development Bank, International Organization for Migration) are collaborating to facilitate the African Union Commission and its Member States in establishing the African Institute for Remittances (AIR). The Project is funded by a grant from the European Commission and implemented by the World Bank. Key findings The average total cost of sending money to and within Africa 2 in Q was percent, 3 a slight decrease from Q when the average total cost was recorded at percent. The cost of sending money to Africa in Q was close to three percentage points (2.55 percent) more expensive than the global average cost for the same period, which measured at 8.93 percent according to Remittance Prices Worldwide (see The 10 most expensive corridors were all intra-african, with six of them originating in South Africa. The most expensive originating markets among those surveyed are Ghana, Tanzania, and South Africa. The cheapest originating markets are those in the Gulf UAE and Saudi Arabia followed by Senegal and Spain. The most expensive countries to send money to are those receiving mainly from other African countries namely Malawi, Mozambique, and Botswana. The cheapest markets to send money to are Egypt, Liberia, and Ethiopia. Commercial banks continue to be the most expensive type of provider. Bank account services are the most expensive method of transfer. 1 This report was prepared by the Financial Infrastructure and Remittances Service Line of the World Bank. 2 Africa is used here to refer to the African continent and does not correspond to a region as officially defined by the World Bank. In this report, reference to Africa is to be intended as to all the countries included in the Send Money Africa database, which are part of the Middle-East and North Africa or Sub-Saharan Africa. 3 The average costs presented in this report refer to the cost of sending USD200 or the equivalent in local currency, unless otherwise specified; non-transparent RSPs (i.e. RSPs that do not disclose the exchange rate applied to the transaction) are excluded from calculations since, in these cases, the total cost of the transaction is not known.

2 Sample Send Money Africa allows the users to compare the costs applied by several providers to send money from 16 major sending countries across Europe, the Middle East, North America, and within Africa itself, to 28 African receiving countries, for a total of 54 "country corridors". The number of services covered by Send Money Africa has steadily increased over the life of the database. At inception in Q3 2011, there were 474 different services included in the sample. Nearly two years later, in Q3 2013, the sample consisted of 614 different services. The breakdown of the Q sample according to the type of Remittance Service Providers (RSPs) is displayed in Graph 1. Money transfer operators (MTOs), which comprise 58 percent of the total sample, are the majority of the service providers in the sample. Banks also constitute a relatively large proportion of the sample at 36 percent. Post Offices and MTO/Post Offices (Post Offices offering a specific MTO service) are also active, although they only account for 6 percent of the sample. Graph 1 Transparency Transparency of prices and service features allows consumers to make informed choices between different services and helps to foster a competitive and safe market for remittances. RSPs should, therefore, be encouraged to provide such information in easily accessible and understandable forms. Such information should include the total price (i.e. fees at both ends, foreign exchange rate offered, taxes and other costs to the customers), the factors that influence the price (e.g. how the recipient is paid, or ability of the sender to provide complete information such as an account number and bank identifier), the time it will take for the funds to reach the receiver, and the specific locations of the RSP access points in both sending and receiving countries. Some providers fail to provide information on one or more of these items. In particular, quite often providers do not disclose the exchange rate applied to the transaction and, therefore, do not reveal the full cost. These providers are deemed non-transparent. Although they are surveyed and included in the database online, including them in the sample when calculating the 2

3 average would bias the results, since the real total cost of these RSPs is not known. For this reason, non-transparent providers have been removed from the calculated values. Graph 2 In Q3 2013, a total of 614 different remittance services to or within Africa were surveyed. Of these, 78 services (12.70 percent) were deemed non-transparent. As a group, banks are nontransparent significantly more often than the other types of providers. Even though banks represent only a third of the total sample, they account for 82 percent of non-transparent services. The majority of non-transparent banks are in European countries such as France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, where they were consistently unable to provide the mystery shopper with an exchange rate for the currency of the African destination country. Since the inception of the survey in July 2011, very few non-transparent banks have become transparent. Average Total Cost The average total cost of sending money to and within Africa in Q was percent, which represents a slight decrease from Q2 2013, when the average total cost was percent. 3

4 Graph 3 The slight decrease in the average cost in Q is relatively unusual as it has only previously occurred in Q and Q1 2013; in every other quarter in which data was collected, the total average cost of sending USD200 to and within Africa increased. The cost of sending USD500 shows a slightly more erratic pattern generally, and a gradual reduction through 2013 where it has decreased from 7.25 percent in Q to 7.14 percent in Q According to Remittance Prices Worldwide Q data released in September 2013, the global average total cost of sending USD200 worldwide is 8.93 percent. With an average total cost of percent, sending USD200 to (or within) Africa is 2.55 percentage points higher than the global average. Sending money to and within Africa is over 4 percentage points more expensive than sending the same amount to South Asia, which costs 7.12 percent, the lowest in the world. When looking at sub-saharan Africa only, the situation is even more dramatic as the average cost is percent, over five percentage (5.17) points higher than sending to South Asia. Graph 4 shows the spread in the total cost between the least and most costly services offered in the market for sending USD200 and USD500 to and within Africa. The spread in the cost of sending USD200 in Q is significantly wider than for sending USD500. For sending USD200, the spread ranges from 0 percent to 46 percent of the amount sent, whereas, for sending USD500, it ranges from 0 percent to 31 percent (both significantly lower than in Q2 2013). This finding is due to the fact that there is a wider spread between MTOs and banks for lower amounts; this spread is reduced for higher amounts, as many banks offer a flat fee, which is considerably lower in percentage terms when applied to the USD500 amount, while the margin for MTOs to reduce their fee in percentage terms is not as wide. 50% Sample spread of the cost for sending $200 & $500 45% 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% High price Low Price Avg Price 15% 10% 5% 0% USD 200 USD 500 Graph 4 4

5 Average total cost of sending money to and within Africa varies by sending markets The cost of sending money to and within Africa varies considerably among sending markets. Graph 5 As graph 5 indicates, the most expensive sending markets in the sample are African countries specifically Ghana, Tanzania, and South Africa, which measure percent, percent and percent, respectively where there tend to be a limited number of service options and where, as a consequence, a number of relatively expensive bank account services are surveyed. The two cheapest sending markets in the survey are the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which measured 3.55 percent and 4.29 percent, respectively, in Q The competitiveness of these markets in comparison to other sending markets in the sample reflects the fact that, globally, the Gulf region is amongst the cheapest for remittances due to the high level of competition achieved. With an average total cost of 6.34 percent, Senegal is the third least expensive market to send money from, followed by Spain with 6.61 percent. Germany has consistently been recorded as the most expensive of the European originating markets and, with an average total cost of percent, was recorded as such in the Q sample. As can be seen in graph 6, the costs in other European markets in the sample such as Spain, UK, Italy, and Belgium are significantly lower. In these markets there is often a greater number of options, thus creating downward pressure on the total costs. Country Corridors Graph 6 shows the 10 most expensive corridors in Q It is not unexpected that all of the top10 are intra-african corridors, primarily originating in South Africa (an expensive, bankdominated market) and Tanzania. The most expensive corridor in the sample is Ghana to Nigeria which measured at percent, followed by South Africa to Malawi at percent and South Africa to Mozambique at percent. 5

6 Graph 6 Graph 7 shows the 10 least expensive corridors in the sample. Consistent with previous iterations of the survey, corridors originating in the Gulf UAE to Egypt and Saudi Arabia to Egypt, which measured at 3.55 percent and 4.29 percent, respectively are among the least expensive corridors in the sample. The 10 least expensive corridors are far more geographically widespread than the Africa-centric 10 most expensive corridors; including, along with the Gulf corridors, relatively competitive sending markets with large African Diasporas such as USA, the UK and Spain. Graph 7 6

7 Cost of sending money to and within Africa by RSP type Graph 8 As illustrated in graph 8, with an average total cost of percent, commercial banks continue to be the most expensive RSP type in Q The very high cost for banks is due to the fact that they rarely offer dedicated services to remittance senders. As a result, often the only services included in the sample are expensive wire transfer services, designed for transferring amounts that are higher than the typical remittance. In particular, only a few banks in the entire African continent offer a competitive money transfer service targeting remittance senders who need to send small amounts from one African country to another. Unsurprisingly, products offered by MTOs and Post Offices are the least expensive way to send money to Africa, partly due to the presence of several specialized providers serving specific countries in the market. MTOs and Post Offices are measured at 8.25 percent and 6.36 percent respectively, Cost of sending money to and within Africa by product type 7

8 Graph 9 As graph 9 illustrates, bank account products are the most expensive method to transfer money to or within Africa, with an average total cost of percent, followed by mobile (cell phone) products which cost an average of percent. Cash services, the most commonly used method of sending money to Africa, are measured at 8.37 percent while the growing market of online services (especially online to cash) are measured at 8.42 percent slightly more expensive than cash to cash services. Multiple service options e.g. where a provider is offering more than one service such as an online service and a cash service, are competitively priced with an average cost of 8.65 percent. A small number of Prepaid card services were recorded but, while reasonably competitively priced, they are not a significant player in cross-border transfers to and within Africa. 8

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