In more developed countries whose economies are better off than most in sub-Saharan Africa, a strong safety net of social programmes, unemployment insurance and direct payments will make all the difference in the depth of the current COVID-19 induced downturn, and will speed up economic recovery.
But for poorer countries, and in the short to medium term, remittances are the most important buffer for immediate livelihoods needs and unexpected life expenses, according to the World Bank’s Global Director, Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation Global Practice, Alfonso Garcia Mora.
Given the scale and importance of remittances for people surviving on just a few dollars per day, actions to reduce the cost of transactions and make it easier to send and receive remittances can immediately improve the lives.
Mora pointed out that during the mobility restrictions of a pandemic – such as the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, sending cash remittances can become mission impossible when digital alternatives are lacking, or if people are unfamiliar with them.
“In many countries, agents are closed without any specific provisions recognizing them as essential services,” said Mora and his colleague Michal Rutkowski, Global Director for Social Protection and Jobs, World Bank.
But in Zimbabwe such barriers and inconveniences should be of little consequence as Cassava Remit has stepped in, in a big way to close that gap. The international remittance company provides a secure, instant and quick online remittance service with guaranteed US dollar cash pick up in Zimbabwe.
While Mora and colleagues raised concerns that elsewhere clients often face long queues, due to the lower number of agents and the shorter operating hours, in Zimbabwe Cassava Remit does not have such problems as it offers has a wide footprint of outlets where its remittance customers get prioritized service when picking up their US dollar cash.
The service provider also offers other convenient channels of receiving the money from the diaspora, such as EcoCash mobile money wallets and bank account transfer into Steward Bank, as well as cash pick up.
The partnership with EcoCash and Steward Bank further gives Cassava Remit the largest distribution footprint in the country, as remittance cash pick up points are as many and as widespread as the EcoCash and Steward Bank customer touchpoint channels throughout the country.
While Mora and Rutkowski worried about the high costs of transferring money which stood at global average cost of 6.82% or $13.64 for remitting US$200, Cassava Remit has reduced its fees to 2.5% , and, in addition it is currently running a promotion where its customers get free EcoCash value of Z$100 plus airtime as appreciation for using the service over and above US$ cash received.
Cassava Remit and Ecocash Remit are also accessible on Sasai App, the all-in-one super App from Cassava Fintech International, where diaspora family members can send money at fees that are way lower than those obtaining across the industry.