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Remittance ‘super tax’ costs Africa $1.8bn a year

Africans are losing $1.8-billion a year due to high fees levied on funds sent from abroad by relatives, Britain’s leading think tank on development said Wednesday

Africans pay some of the highest charges in the world for international money transfers.

According to the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), Africans face some of the highest charges in the world for international transfers, but global leader Western Union insisted that the fees were down to a range of local factors.

The report, issued in partnership with the Comic Relief charity, claims that reducing African charges to the global average would generate enough revenue “to put some 14-million children into school, almost half of the out-of-school total in the region, and provide safe water to 21-million people”.

The report also states that charges affecting the sub-Saharan region, at 12%, are almost doubling the global average.

The report argued the high fees were due to lack of competition, pointing out that Western Union and MoneyGram control almost two-thirds of the remittance market in Africa

Source: Mail & Guardian

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