Western Union is being accused of excessive remittance fees.  (Photo Credit: Google Images)
Western Union is being accused of excessive remittance fees.
(Photo Credit: Google Images)

BBC Africa is reporting that communities in sub-Saharan Africa are being “hurt” by high fees charged by money transfer operators, according to the charity Comic Relief. The article reports:

“Restricted competition has helped push up charges, according to research by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Money transfer company Western Union said that fees were set according to factors such as local taxes. The company ‘delivered much-needed services to individuals’, it added.”

Research has found that remittance fees to Africa are twice as much as the global average. The article added:

“Siddo Deva of Comic Relief said: ‘Imposing such high remittance fees from hard-earned income is hurting the African diaspora and, more importantly, their families and communities in the countries of origin.’ Fees charged to Africans wishing to send money back amount to a ‘super-tax’ that could be better spent on education or health, ODI said.

‘Africans living abroad make huge sacrifices to support their families, yet face charges which are indefensible in an age of mobile banking and internet transfers,’ said Kevin Watkins, the report’s co-author and ODI Director.”

Read more at BBC Africa.

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