Back in 2012 Sierra Leone had one of the fastest growing economies in Sub Saharan Africa.
Then in 2014 the Ebola outbreak hit and the effects were devastating. Thousands died and the economy was rocked with GDP shrinking by as much as 20%.
To get the country back on track direct foreign investment and remittances are both vital.
That’s why at Azimo, in partnership with the UK Trade & Investment and Developing Market Associates, we hosted the UK-Sierra Leone Trade & Investment Forum. It brought together senior government officials (including the Foreign Minister and High Commissioner of Sierra Leone) and the private sector to discuss how investment can help restore the country’s economy.
On a more immediate level we’re waiving our usual £2.99 transaction fee to Sierra Leone for the next three months. This might not sound like it’ll make a massive difference to Sierra Leone but we think that it’s a small demonstration of the the fact then we say we support the countries we serve, we mean it.
On top of this, compared to other money transfer companies, Azimo gives senders up to 10% more on every transaction to Sierra Leone.
All this means that more of the hard-earned money that migrants send will make it home to Sierra Leone at a time that’s vital.
Speaking at the Forum, Michael Kent – our CEO and founder – said:
“For a country like Sierra Leone eliminating our transaction fee can have a direct impact on people’s lives. While foreign aid was invaluable during the crisis, the regular flow of remittance will have a greater impact in the long term. It’s important we do whatever we can to help the recovery and lowering our fees to zero is just a part of it. Together with our industry partners, we hope to raise more awareness of the issues facing Sierra Leone and increase the flow of funds to help restore what was once one of the fastest growing markets in West Africa.”
We’re also giving our customers the chance to donate £1 of their remittance to our charity partner ActionAid whose work in Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis has helped over 300,000 people.
We know that the road ahead for Sierra Leone as it tries to rebuild its economy will be a hard one. But we are confident the country will succeed. And if, in our own small way at Azimo, we can help that journey, that is something we are only too happy to do.