EDITORIAL: Efforts to reduce Diaspora remittance fees should be intensified

As we approach the end of the year, a number of national events are slated to take place, the most important being the National Dialogue and the Diaspora Summit that usually takes place in December.

As we approach the end of the year, a number of national events are slated to take place, the most important being the National Dialogue and the Diaspora Summit that usually takes place in December.

The Rwandan Diaspora network has been tagged as the sixth province by some writers because of the important role it continues to play in the nation’s welfare.

Last year, it was estimated that Rwandans in the Diaspora sent $140 million in remittances, but it is not all about the money. In the last few years, many Rwandans have returned home to invest in new ideas and transferring knowledge.

In fact, many have become so successful that they regret not heeding the call to return home earlier. They are very present in diversified fields, be it the services or hospitality industries, arts, manufacturing and even agriculture.

Some time back, the World Bank said that the Diaspora could be sending more money if remittance fees were brought down to manageable levels. It said the $60 billion African foreign workers send to the continent every year could rise if remittance fees were brought down.

The average fee now stands at 12.4%, more than double of that in some countries in South East Asia.

This is one area the ongoing Diaspora Investment Forum should tackle in consultation with the relevant authorities. Exorbitant fees should not discourage the Diaspora from investing in their motherland; a red carpet should instead be spread out for them.

When the next Diaspora Summit takes place, they should find some good news waiting for them.

 

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