Bangladesh is fast emerging as an economic power in south Asia, fuelled in part by a growing population, strong exports and a revival in worker remittances.
Remittances to Bangladesh are forecast to have grown by 8.62 percent last year to $15.05 billion (with $850m from the UK alone), incurring significant costs for those involved. This has lead to the G20’s call to put more money back where it belongs, in migrants’ pockets.
Now, millions of hard-working Bangladeshi migrants in Europe have been handed a financial lifeline by London based money transfer start-up Azimo, which has launched a new £1 money transfer service to Bangladesh.
Azimo was launched in 2012 by serial FinTech entrepreneur Michael Kent with the aim of cutting the cost for hard-working migrants. The latest service to Bangladesh comes after calls by the G20 to lower the excessive fees and poor exchange rates involved in transferring money abroad.
An estimated 6 million Bangladeshi migrants are living abroad with large communities in Saudi Arabia (2.5m), UAE, (1.1m), Malaysia and the UK (500,000 each), making them one of the largest global migrant populations – many of whom regularly send money to Bangladesh.
Michael Kent explained why he launched Azimo, “As a business built by migrants for migrants we know how important it is that people have a fast and low-cost way to send money home to support their families and communities. We launched Azimo to use digital technology to lower the cost of sending money abroad. Europe’s Bangladeshi community has a long and proud history and our new service will allow us to help these customers hold-on to more of their hard-earned cash”.
Using its unique digital remittance platform, Azimo makes money transfer easier, faster and cheaper – compared to average fees of over 9%, Azimo’s online service charges customers just £1, along with the best exchange rates on the market. The service is available for both instant cash pick-up and direct payment to any bank account.
Kent added that, “The big banks and legacy players like Western Union still offer the costly high street based model and make billions of dollars of profits from hard-working migrants sending money home to support their families.
Bangladesh is indicative of emerging economies who rely heavily on remittance flows from migrant workers – the eighth biggest in the world according to The Word Bank.
While the digital and mobile mega trends have reshaped retail, travel and communications, these forces have so far skipped money transfer. Azimo is changing that.
If we continue to disrupt the banks and old-fashioned money shops it will put hundreds of millions of dollars back into the pockets of everyday people which in turn will inject cash into the national economy.”