(Business in Cameroon) - British online remittance transfer platform WorldRemit, leader on the global market, revealed in a recent note that the Cameroonian diaspora sent a total of £75 million (or CFA57.2 billion at the current exchange rate) home via the platform in 2022. Contradicting the World Bank, which predicts a decline in remittances to sub-Saharan Africa in 2023 (from +5.2% in 2022 to only +3.9% in 2023), the British platform expects activity to continue to grow in Cameroon.
Indeed, the World Bank estimates that remittances only exploded in 2021 (+16.4%) with spillover to 2022 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted the African diaspora to send more money home to support their families. However, Imane Charioui (pictured), WorldRemit's Director for Francophone Africa and the Middle East, believes that “as online money transfer tools become more and more a part of people's lifestyles, online money transfers will continue to grow steadily in 2023. This shift to the digital that became more pronounced with the Covid-19 episode is expected to continue and many technology-savvy customers now prefer these services, which are cheaper and more convenient.”
In a recently published paper entitled “Will remittances to Cameroon continue to grow in 2023?” Imane Charioui pursued her optimistic view saying that "technology has a prominent place in people's lives in Cameroon, and remittances are no exception. The sector was relatively new a decade ago but has now become one of the most used money transfer methods. This is evidence that digital money transfers and remittances are just as secure as a bank transfer and much faster, cheaper, and more convenient.”.
Another good factor is that Cameroon has long been a very promising market for the world leader in digital money transfers. “Cameroon is our largest Francophone market in Africa and one of our top eight markets globally. It is also the fastest growing one with 120% annual growth,” Andrew Stewart, then regional director for Africa and the Middle East at WorldRemit, revealed back in 2018.
According to WorldRemit analysts, the company has seen great success since it launched operations in Cameroon in 2016, as it allows users to make direct transfers to recipients' mobile money wallets. Data from the Bank of Central African States (Beac) reveals that in 2020, Cameroon alone held 64.8% of all Mobile Money accounts in Cemac and carried out 73.1% of money transfers in the region.
Written by Brice R. Mbodiam
Translated from French by Firmine AIZAN