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Nigeria as Africa’s largest remittance market

These days Nigerians are becoming increasingly attracted by the lure of the proverbial ‘greener pastures’ in more developed countries due to the full blown recession in Nigeria.  It  is not uncommon to find families that have been ‘separated’ because one of the spouses has traveled abroad in search of better opportunities.

More often, it is the husband that undertakes this adventure. Increasingly, we find wives who make the plunge, in a bid to seek the ever-elusive ‘foreign exchange’ that can presumably ensure a better life for their families.

As soon as the spouse who travels abroad begins to earn reasonable income, the next step is to think of making remittances back home to support the family. At this point, the marriage has become, to all intents and purposes,  a long-distance marriage.

For many of such families, the traveler spouse becomes the major source of financial support, either perennially, or until such a time as the spouse at home is able to start a small business, to augment the income from overseas.  Families forced to live apart for this reason invariably rely on International Money Transfer Organizations (IMTOs) such as Western Union, to facilitate seamless remittances from their bread winners across long distances and borders.

That is the story of Mrs. Lucky Imomotimi, a Nigerian housewife whose husband moved from Nigeria to the US 10 years ago in search of better opportunities, leaving her with five children to fend for.

According her: “I am a Nigerian housewife, with five children. I have been using Western Union for the past ten years. My husband works in the US, where he produces T-shirts. When he got there, he informed me of his decision to be using Western Union for his money transfers because it easier for him to use. It is the money he sends to me through this medium that I use to pay the children’s school fees, house rent and other family needs. What he was not able to achieve in Nigeria, has been achieved abroad. I am proud of my husband.

Lucky is one of the millions of happy beneficiaries of money transfer services offered by companies like Western Union. By dealing with such a reputable international company, Lucky’s husband is at least rest assured that any money he sends to his wife will be delivered promptly.

The World Bank migration and remittance brief states that Nigeria is the largest remittance market in Africa and 5th in the world. And according to the statement issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria on the occasion of the licensing of 21 new IMTOs in early November 2016, diaspora remittances constitute  the second highest source of foreign exchange for Nigeria after crude oil sales, accounting for as much as $21 billion in 2015 alone. That figure is expected to rise up to about $35 billion in 2016.

More than 195 countries and territories sent money into Nigeria, and 160 received money from Nigeria in 2015, reflecting the extraordinary global connections brought about by the rise in migration of Nigerians to many parts of the world.

As the market leader in the IMTO space in Nigeria, Western Union plays a key role in delivering value, not just to individuals, but to the larger Nigerian economy.

Western Union has operated in Nigeria for over twenty years, and considers the country as one of the most connected in the world when it comes to sending and receiving money. From a single location with the First Bank of Nigeria in the heart of Lagos in 1996, It’s has expanded its walk-in location count to over 5,200, with a presence in Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja). The company’s focus on channel diversification also allows Nigerians to receive money into 2.2 million mobile wallets and into more that 50 million bank accounts. This network connects Nigerians, no matter the distance between them and the world.

By  Yinka Ajayi


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