Business and Finance

Interview: Pardon Mujakachi – WorldRemit, Regional Head for Sub Sahara Africa.

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Remittances are of great importance to the Zimbabwean economy. According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), the country receives almost $1 billion in remittances each year.

This money flows directly into the local economy, accounting for 11% of the country’s GDP. WorldRemit data shows that this money helps Zimbabweans to pay for food, school fees and medical bills, whilst giving support in times of emergency. WorldRemit, the market-leading money transfer provider, has revealed that Zimbabwe was one of the top 5 recipient countries in Africa for remittances in 2019, and continues to grow rapidly.

With Zimbabwe on a mandatory lockdown since March 30th and all banks closed, cash pick-up services have been greatly impacted leaving many Zimbabweans who are dependent on remittances for survival in a difficult position.

The presidential directive on money transfer services announced on 6th April, brought a huge relief to millions of households who depend on the support from their loved ones abroad.
We spoke to Pardon Mujakachi, Country Director, Zimbabwe at WorldRemit, who answered the most commonly asked questions. Mr. Mujakachi spoke to us about how the London-headquartered, leading online money transfer company is supporting its customers and explained the options available to both senders and receivers.

WorldRemit allows senders in 50 countries to instantly send money via the app or online to receivers in 150 countries, including Zimbabwe and other countries across Africa. Your sender can access WorldRemit online on www.worldremit.com or by downloading the app on an iOS or Android device.

 

Can my friends and family still send money to me during the pandemic?

Yes! These are challenging times for everyone around the world, but I’d like to reassure you that we continue to provide a 24/7 global money transfer service for our customers.

 

Can I still collect cash during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Great news! The Government of Zimbabwe has just announced that cash pick up services will resume on Wednesday April 8th. Our partners in Zimbabwe will be open for cash pick up from Tuesday through to Thursday every week. Please continue to check our website on cash pick-up locations & availability.

Don’t forget, we’ve also created other great ways for you to send money which include to bank accounts, mobile money and airtime in Zimbabwe. Thank you for your patience and for sending money with WorldRemit!

 

Is this the case elsewhere, considering it’s a global pandemic?

Overall, cash pickup services throughout the global remittance industry are on a general downward trend at this moment due to social-distancing measures introduced by governments. People simply aren’t going out of their homes and are shifting more of their transactions and work online.

In some countries where we operate, we have seen a 100% swing to digital payout methods such as bank accounts, mobile money or airtime top up – for example in Thailand and Fiji. But it’s still too early to tell whether or not we are looking at a 100% cashless world in the future. Cash is still king to many people around the world.

 

What other options do I have to receive money besides cash pick ups?

In addition to cash pick up, you can receive money directly into a bank account or mobile money wallet from your sender.

The sender can also send you Airtime directly to your phone, helping you stay connected to loved ones.

 

How can I send money to mobile money accounts in Zimbabwe?

Transfers to EcoCash are unaffected and running as usual. Your recipient can receive their money in USD and choose to convert to local currency by dialing *150# and selecting Option 1 for Bureau de Change.

Mobile Money Cash pick up with EcoCash is guaranteed. We have selected Econet shops guaranteeing cash for those who would like to receive cash in USD.

You can buy goods and services in USD from the FCA mobile wallet. As per the Government circular on Friday 27th March, USD can be used to purchase goods and services or send money to family and friends across the country.

Bank Transfers

Bank transfer services are available. You can send money to your family and friends with FCA bank accounts in Zimbabwe. Please ensure that your beneficiaries provide the correct FCA bank account details to avoid any inconvenience. If the beneficiary is not sure about the type of bank account for a USD deposit, they should contact their bank.

 

What is airtime top up?

When you connect a mobile phone to a telecoms network, you need to purchase credit to enable you to use that telco network’s airtime. Airtime allows you to access the network’s services.

Direct airtime top-ups via WorldRemit are critical at this time when people are asked to work from home and stay indoors, since it allows for purchase of Internet data bundles, which support work, entertainment and keep local internet-based companies as well as SMEs in business.

 

If I still want a cash payout, how long will the Covid-19 situation impact movement?

Governments all around the world recognize the importance of remittances and are doing their best to make sure you can access money safely. As a company, we are also doing everything possible to minimize disruption.

 

Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?

We support the government directive on remittances. We know our money transfer service is crucial in allowing you to help friends and family in areas impacted by the virus. We want you to stay safe, so where possible we ask you to choose to receive money to bank accounts or via mobile money.

At times like these, we know distances can feel greater than ever before. Our hearts go out to everyone who is being affected by the coronavirus, either directly or indirectly.

Originally published at https://www.zimeye.net/2020/04/07/worldremit-cash-pickups-full-interview/

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