Post offices in Africa now deliver more money than mail. They are becoming essential to provide poor rural populations with access to affordable financial services, including remittances, which amounted to over US$ 65 billion in 2015.
This will be the focus of the Second African Conference on Remittances and Postal Networks to be held on 15 -16 November in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, and hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
“More than 15 per cent of adult Africans use the over 26,000 existing post offices and postal agents to access basic financial services, including picking up remittances. Most of them live in rural communities many miles away from banks,” the Coordinator of the Financing Facility for Remittances at IFAD, Pedro De Vasconcelos said.
“In Africa, post offices are now considered part of the nation’s social fabric and an immediate access point to financial services.”
While the average cost of sending remittances is 7.6 per cent globally, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most expensive region in the world in which to send money home, with an average cost of 9.5 per cent in 2016.
In an increasing number of African countries, post offices are able to provide a remittance service at an average cost of 5 per cent or less.
A new report exploring remittances and the role of the post office in Africa will be launched at the conference.
The IFAD report, “Remittances at the post office in Africa: Serving the financial needs of migrants and their families in rural areas,” focuses on African National Postal Operators as distribution channels to provide access to remittances and financial services.
It examines the role post offices play in Africa’s remittance market and ways to make these existing, publicly-owned assets more competitive and inclusive.
About 120 delegates including national postal operators, postbanks, regulatory authorities, governments, private sector banks, money transfer operators, fintech firms, international organizations, civil society and others involved in the remittances market from across Africa will participate.