Dakar, 13th September 2011
International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions (INAFI International) is delighted to announce that it secured funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) under its Financing Facility for Remittances to start with the implementation of a User-Owned, Low Cost Remittance Service. This service will (i) provide an alternative to the current cash-to-cash dominated remittance services; (ii) increase financial literacy among remittance senders and recipients; and (iii) link remittances to microfinance services allowing access to bank accounts, savings, credit services and innovative remittance-based products and services. Initially, under the scope of the grant agreement signed between INAFI and IFAD, the service will target the important Spain-Senegal corridor and it will therefore be implemented at two INAFI member Micro Finance Institutions in Senegal (FDEA and U-IMCEC). Once the expected results are achieved, the service could easily be rolled out to other countries.
INAFI believes that low-cost transfer of remittances is a necessary tool to bring financial services closer to poor people and expects that this innovative new service will serve as a platform to promote local, social and economic development.
To implement the User-Owned, Low Cost Remittance Service, INAFI signed a partnership agreement with the Barcelona-based Federation of Associations of Senegalese Migrants (CASC) and AUXFIN. CASC is an organization established to promote cooperation and interrelation between the Senegalese community and the Spanish and Senegalese public administrations. AUXFIN will provide the UMVA system, a platform and software developed for small banks, with special functions for migrants and their needs for remittances services. Mr. Marco van Andel, an expert in micro-finance, remittances and financial development was recruited as the project manager of this project. He will be a key collaborator between the three partners and will manage the project on behalf of INAFI.
Soukeyna Ndiaye Ba (Executive Director of INAFI): “INAFI is convinced that remittances sent by migrants have a great development potential and therefore remittances is a key theme in our strategic development plan. New initiatives to leverage remittances for development by linking microfinance and remittances are now being initiated by our network in several countries around the world. We are delighted by the support of IFAD to this specific initiative for which our expectations are very high.“
Amadou Bocar Sam (President of CASC): “The idea of a user-owned, low-cost remittance service has been on top of our agenda for several years and after so much hard work the moment has now come to start implementing the idea. We are convinced that we have the right partners to turn this idea into an innovative reality.”
Cornelis Heesbeen (CEO of AUXFIN): “We are excited to provide our tested UMVA tools and expertise to this ground-breaking initiative. It is a great opportunity for us to start working with INAFI and 2 of its member MFI’s, thus expanding further the scope of our growing activities. New in this project is the Migrant Development Fund; the results of this project will have a large impact for migrants over the world.”