This past week we travelled from London to Lagos for the 2016 Remittance & Mobile Money Expo in Nigeria. It brought together the mobile, technology and remittance companies from around the world who are doing everything they can to change the way money is accessed across Africa.
Remittance is a huge part of that conversation. We know from the remittance expert Dilip Ratha and our own business, that remittance has more of an impact on developing nations economies than foreign aid. And in Africa, it’s no different. It is one of the largest recipients of remittances in the world, with at least $40billion flowing into the continent every year.
Michael Kent, our CEO and founder spoke about how social media and mobile technology are ushering in a new era and driving financial inclusion in unprecedented ways. With a large portion of the region’s population still without access to bank accounts the increase in mobile penetration across the continent is making it easier for citizens to hold funds electronically. Thanks to mobile wallets like M-Pesa, 60 % of Kenya’s GDP involves mobile money and 80% of our transactions to the region are now via M-Pesa.
On the last day of the event, Azimo won the Kalahari Award for the Best Low-Cost Remittance Service To Africa. This prestigious award came our way because of all the hard work we’ve done over the years to make international money transfer fair, simple, safe, affordable and accessible to as many people as possible.
Emmanuel Okoegwale, Principal Associate, Mobile Money Africa explained why we came out on top like this:
“Azimo’s entry was outstanding as a leading innovator, providing low-cost remittances to Africa with a positive impact on the remittance ecosystem. We are proud of their achievements in bringing low-cost remittances to the continent and we hope the award will spur them to greater heights in 2016 and beyond.”
And, don’t worry Emmanuel, at Azimo we have every intention of making 2016 even more impressive than 2015. Over the past 6 months we’ve seen the number of transactions we handle in the region grow by 300%. And Azimo is now integrated with multiple African mobile wallets including eTranzact in Nigeria, MTN Ghana, Celtel in Burkina Faso and Vodafone M-Pesa in Kenya.
Commenting on receiving the award, Michael Kent, CEO and Founder of Azimo said:
“Remittance flows have more of an impact on economic stability than foreign aid, yet high transactions fees still plague hard working migrants, especially from Africa, looking to support their families, friends and businesses back home. We’re on a mission to make this broken industry better. Being selected for this award is testament to that mission, our growth and the hard-working Azimo team that puts our customers at the heart of everything we do.”