The world, for the most part, is arguably a global village, and as people increasingly migrate to different places around the world in search of green pastures, effective means of diaspora remittance has become almost a necessity.
In 2019, PwC highlighted the size of the remittance market, with a massive sum of $25.5 million in diaspora remittances, and even bigger sums likely to be sent through unofficial means.
As a result, it appears a number of financial services providers have been making moves to position themselves to tap into the budding remittance market.
In 2019, the Nigerian payment company, Paga, partnered with global remittance platform, WorldRemit. This year, Airtel expanded its mobile money platform by partnering with financial giants, Western Union, and Flutterwave with WorldPay.
In another development, pan-African banking giants, Ecobank, with a presence in more than 33 African countries, has announced a partnership with Alibaba’s Alipay in order to ease cross-border payments in Africa.
The agreement between both parties will link Ecobank’s remittance platform, Rapidtransfer, to the 1.2 billion people that are being served by Alipay.
Ecobank believes that the partnership with Alipay will ease international money transfer by increasing the number of options available to users, reduce transaction cost and improve financial inclusion in the various markets it serves and beyond.
Group Consumer Banking Head, Ecobank, Nana Abban, stated that with the partnership, the bank will be leveraging the scale of its unified payment ecosystem on a global stage, and its remittance solution, Rapidtrasfer, will reach even more users, especially migrant workers across Africa.
Also commenting on the partnership, Ma Zhiquo, says that Alipay wants to use its technology to bring fast, affordable, and convenient remittance service to more users globally, especially to workers who live far from home.
He also adds that the payment giant is committed to working with companies like Ecobank that use innovative technologies to help consumers gain access to innovative financial services.
In what seems to be another example of Chinese interest in Africa, this represents another major partnership for Alipay in Africa, after it reached an agreement with Flutterwave in 2019, to boost remittances between Nigeria and China.