October 7, 2011
Fiji has been gaining global recognition on these ground breaking initiatives around mobile money. The partnership with KlickEx to launch Digicel Mobile Money enables the transfer of money from a New Zealand bank account to a Digicel mobile phone in the Islands. Pacific Island Countries and recipients of remittances can benefit from this competition. The cost of remitting money from NZ costs a flat fee of NZ$3.00. This is a significant reduction in remittance fees!
In the Pacific, around US$470 million was formally remitted to Forum island countries (FICs) in 2008. The primary sources of remittances to the Pacific are Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America. Across all remittance corridors to Pacific island countries surveyed, the average cost is 21.7 per cent of the amount remitted when sent from Australia and 15.2 per cent when sent from New Zealand. It is estimated that remitters to the Pacific pay at least US$90 million in remittance fees each year.
Remittances have received increasing global attention in the last decade, reflecting a growing appreciation of their importance to households in many developing countries. These recent development just goes to show how innovation and technology can dramatically effect and revolutionize aspects of Pacific life and their economies and financial inclusion as a whole.
“International remittances are a major source of financial security for households across the Pacific and a major contributor to economic activity in many countries. Making remittances cheaper, more convenient and faster will make a big difference in the lives of Pacific Islanders and we are happy to work with Digicel and its partners in this effort,” says Tillman Bruett, Financial Inclusion Advisor and Project Manager, Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme.
So much is happening in the mobile money world that people may lose sight of how revolutionary these developments mean to the Pacific. Pacific islanders should capitalize on these efficient, reliable and low cost financial services. It can only get better from here.
The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) is a Pacific-wide programme helping to provide sustainable financial services to low income households. It is funded by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and operates from the UNDP Pacific Centre.