News and Views

Tanzania: Diasporan’s Remittances Up Six Percent Amid West’s Economic Ills

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Dar es Salaam — Remittances inflow to Tanzania has increased despite continued economic difficulties in the West.

Tanzanian workers abroad sent home about $337 million (Sh539.2 billion) in 2010 being an increase of six per cent from the $318 million in the previous year.About 300,000 Tanzanians are estimated to be living and working outside the country.

On the other hand, foreign workers residing in Tanzania sent about $68 million to their home countries in the same period, according to the Bank of Tanzania's Annual Banking Supervision Report.

BoT highlights that remittance transaction still face challenges like, high charges of transaction, prohibitive market behaviours that lock out other possible service providers, and limited accessibility where modern payment systems are limited to licenced commercial Banks.

A recent World Bank report on Remittance price said Tanzania and South Africa were the most expensive counties to send money from.Transactions from Tanzania to Rwanda and those to Uganda led the pack with a cost of 49.19 per cent, followed by Tanzania to Kenya at 47.2 per cent, which exceeds transaction between Singapore and Bangladesh whose costs stand at 4.4 per cent.

Expatriates pay an average of Sh69,675 to send Sh295,000 and Sh77,680 for sending Sh735,000, according to the World Bank.The BoT said in its report that key service providers in current remittances included cross-border providers like the Western Union, Money Gram, and Travelex/Coinstar and domestic providers.

Western Union recently entered into a partnership with Vodacom M-Pesa to enable international mobile money transfers.Remittances, a transfer of money by a foreign worker to his or her home country, are regarded as among the largest financial inflow to the developing countries. It is also identified as the most tangible link between migration and development.

According to Migration and Remittance Fact Book 2011 report, Tanzanian emigrants in 2010 accounted to 0.7 per cent of all Tanzanians, the majority of who reside in Kenya, Uganda, United Kingdom, Canada, Mozambique, Malawi, US, Burundi, Rwanda and Australia.

The emigrant's population includes doctors and nurses. About 12.4 per cent of physicians trained in Tanzania, and half of Tanzanian physicians trained abroad work as expatriates outside the country, according to the said World Bank report.

About 3.5 per cent of all nurses born in the country work outside the country.World Bank economic outlook for remittance flow, 2012-2014 predicts brighter future by placing the global remittance at $590 billion by 2014 despite economic crises currently bedeviling most developed countries, and which has reduced number of jobs for migrant workers.

In 2008, the WB estimated remittances totaled $440 billion (Sh704trillion), of which $325 billion (Sh520 trillion) went to developing countries, involving about 192 million migrants or 3 per cent of the world population.

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