By Adama Tine
Dr. Seeku Jaabi, 1st Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia has revealed that: “As at the end of August this year we secured $535 million from remittances which is 90 percent of last year’s and we expected to raise around $900 million by the end of this year”.
Jaabi made this revelation on Tuesday during the launch of Qmoney and Ria International money transfer partnership held at the Qcell Auditorium, Kairaba Avenue.
Qmoney is the Gambia’s leading mobile money platform and for the first time in the country, Qcell users can receive international money transfer directly into their Qmoney wallet safely and at their convenience with no charges. The innovative service allows Ria Money Transfer customers to send funds to Qmoney customers 24 hours of the day using their mobile phones.
During his presentation, Dr. Jaabi stated that the importance of remittances is so much to this country as in 2019 $329 million was made in remittances and in 2020 despite the Covid-19, CBG captured $589 million which almost doubled that of 2019.
According to Dr.Jaabi, the huge progress is due mainly because of a software that captured bureau of reference to supply data on timely basis which is accessible via mobile phones and also with the support of the 43 NTO’s working with different institutions in the country.
“We all know how the tourism sector is flopping since the pandemic came but remittance has come to fill in the gap that the country is losing from the tourism sector thus, if something is good for your economy, you need to protect it and promote it with maximum care,” he stated.
Dr Jabbi further added that international remittances is very important for the country and that Ria money transfer remittance is one of the top three multi transfer companies in The Gambia. He intimated that Central Bank’s commitment will continue to support the partnership between Ria and Qmoney.
Isatou Jawara, managing director of AGIB Bank Ltd said AGIB Bank has a long standing relationship with Ria money transfer as well as the first and only bank in the country to have an exclusive payout agreement with Qmoney and Ria money transfer as principal agent.
She added that the agreement will allow funds to be transferred directly to customers of Qmoney wallet from the US and Europe through an App or an agent. She said the agreement will further allow beneficiaries to cash out funds from all AGIB locations or other Qmoney contracted collection points throughout the country.
“In the last few years, the world has witnessed an unprecedented evolution in mobile financial services which cannot be ignored. The global mobile payment market report states that, the mobile financial services market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 33% from 2019 to 2026 reaching 457.4 billion US dollars by 2026,” she disclosed.
According to her, as a bank, AGIB cannot afford to ignore that reality especially when the opportunity has arrived knocking on their doors and moreover with the pressing need for innovative solutions in banking for service delivery as mobile wallet service will certainly lead to a greater customer experience and efficiency.
On his part, Alick Sock, Managing Director of Ria-Africa said: “We are a living company in the world. We are present in over 160 countries and 43 countries in Africa, working with over 200 banks mainly with micro finance, saving banks and post offices. We have signed with almost all banks in the continent.”
He further revealed that despite the sanitary crisis, Ria’s business has grown a lot for two main reasons; the acceleration of their business project everywhere in Europe and in the US you can send money via mobile phone and during the lockdown in Europe, while the World Bank was predicting a loss of 20%, Ria saw in their business a growth of over 20%.
Alieu B Njie, Head of Qmoney said International remittances play a huge role in the Gambian economy as in 2020 the inward flows of funds in The Gambia surpassed $570 million which plays a vital role in the working of the country’s economy as many people have relatives and friends in the diaspora who help them back home financially and also investments through international remittance services.
He said a majority of recipients of remittances would have to go to a bank or to a foreign exchange bureau to receive their funds when normally there used to be a queueing situation they would have to go through which sometimes could cause the person spending a few hours before receiving his or her money.
“We needed a global player, somebody with great experience and Ria’s global footprint has won our hearts as they go close to 500,000 locations that one can send or receive money across the world and operating in 162 countries across the world,” he stated.