Zim remittances surge as women remitters lead the pack

53% of people sending money with us are women


As formal remittances into Zimbabwe surged 58 percent in 2020 to a record $1 billion, data from a local think tank has unveiled that women remitters are leading the pack. 

According to a United Nations Women (UN Women) survey, analyzing the relationship between gender and remittances, migrant women workers have been leading the pack in sending money back home to loved ones.  

The research showed that while women tended to rely more on in-person cash transfer services in the past, the tide had turned with migrant workers now preferring formal channels for security. 

“The research found that, while women typically earn less than men and pay more in transfer fees, the average remittance amounts they send are the same as or even greater than those of men, implying that they tend to remit a larger portion of their earnings than do men,” the UN Women paper said. 

In Zimbabwe’s case, the survey also highlighted that the emergence of new players in the remittance play like Access Forex, Senditoo, and the traditional ones like World Remit and Mukuru had made it easier for women remitters to send money back home. 

Access Forex’s spokesperson Shingai Koti said the increase in trust by women was not alarming as the remittances firm, which services the United Kingdom and South Africa corridors, and others had put in place measures to stimulate remittances from the previously marginalized. 

“On our books, women make up 50 percent of the remitters and this is a huge step especially as we commemorate International Women’s Day. 

“It shows that emancipation and financial inclusion is finally reaching the previously marginalized and as a business, we continue to promote this through our wide distribution network around Zimbabwe also allowing women to send money locally,” Koti said. 

Koti said the trend was anticipated to surge further in the future on the back of sectorial liberalisation efforts by the central bank and the company’s efforts to promote financial inclusion. 

“In South Africa alone, 52 percent of our books is made up of women. This is a pattern we intend to maintain in the future as we grow as a business. We want to ensure that all our customers find a secure way to send money back home,” the Access Forex spokesperson said.  

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s diaspora remittances increased by 58 percent to US$1 billion last year surpassing US$635,7 million realised in 2019. 

In 2020, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had projected that diaspora remittances would close the year at US$940 million. 

In his 2021 Monetary Policy Statement last month, RBZ Governor Dr John Mangudya attributed the improvement in Diaspora remittances to the liberalisation of the use of free funds in the country and improved channelling of remittances through formal channels. 





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Zimbabwe’s financially excluded find a home

Zimbabwe’s financially excluded find a home

Previously marginalized informal players in Zimbabwe are finally feeling a glimmer of hope at the prospect of financial inclusion.

Small to Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) have expressed optimism that the exclusion gap could soon become a thing of the past as Access Forex, a local remittances firm, has placed its hands-on deck playing its part in driving the financial inclusion agenda.

This drive is aimed at achieving the United Nations’ global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030, specifically SDG 8 and 10 which seek to promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth while reducing inequalities.

Financial exclusion has been dominant in third world countries as self-sustained entrepreneurs in the informal sector have faced challenges around finding robust financial solutions without exclusionary checklists.

To worsen the already existing problem, the global pandemic, Covid-19, has plunged the world into an economic crisis that, unfortunately, did not spare the informal market that has traditionally relied on informal channels to transact.

Worryingly, the global scourge was worsened by an extensive carnage on the job market bleeding economic and social spheres.

Being in the remittances business, Access Forex strives to identify with the struggles that were birthed by financial marginalization and has prioritized responding to the call to make the crisis lighter especially on hardworking migrants, local SMEs and the remittances beneficiaries.

Violet Mutemachani, a 42-year-old Mbare-based entrepreneur who operates from Siyaso Market could not hide her joy as she narrated how her business has found a home with Access Forex.

Mutemachani gets raw materials from suppliers in Mutare, a city 263 kilometers outside Zimbabwe’s capital, and uses the metal to make various essentials that range from baking tins, watering kettles, bathing basins and others.

“We have really struggled to send and receive money. Lately cash has been scarce, and, in some instances, we have been forced to send money with bus drivers. It was slow and involved a lot of risks,” Mutemachani said.

She also explained that informal channels of sending money were unpredictable.

“Sometimes the bus drivers would hike the sending fee when they got to the receiver and this was unsustainable for business. The other time a driver lied to me that the money had been lost and I lost my entire capital,” she said.

Bolden Mbeve Bizariero (29), who also operates from the same area as Mutemachani said the emergence of new players like Access Forex in the remittances play had significantly eased the burden of sending money across the country.

“Since I started using Access Forex, life for me has been simpler. The convenience that comes with knowing that I can send money instantly to my foreman in Bulawayo for him to receive the cash instantly has been unmatched,” Bizariero said.

Access Forex has a mandate to deliver solutions to Zimbabwe’s unbanked populace.

Already, the firm offers cash transfer services, a product driven by market demands.

Priority to serve has also been given to Zimbabweans living the Diaspora, especially those living in the United Kingdom and South Africa for them to send money back home at affordable rates.

Financial inclusion is indeed everyone’s responsibility and it is also complimenting the Government and United Nation’s efforts through sustainable development goals.

Research shows that countries pushing the financial inclusion agenda — which encompasses access to affordable, appropriate financial services — have achieved stronger GDP growth rates and lower income inequality.

For Access Forex, driving financial inclusion goes beyond the bottom line, its aim is to focus on ushering economic empowerment, equality, and access to financial products regardless of gender, social status, or race.

Authors: Mildret Kujinga, Ndakaziva Majaka

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Access Forex Expands Domestic Footprint

HARARE, SEPTEMBER 21, 2020 – Remittances transfer firm, Access Forex, says it is looking at expanding its domestic remittances footprint to cover the whole country by year-end.
Mildred Kujinga Access Forex’s Business Development Manager said that the firm – which is already offering cross-border remittances for the Zimbabwe – South Africa corridor as well as the Zimbabwe – United Kingdom corridor – was moving to drive the central bank’s financial inclusion drive by targeting the financially marginalized.
“Access Forex has been aggressively growing the cross-border remittances targeting Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. We launched domestic remittances three months ago and have been expanding the domestic remittances market to take care of the receiver of the last mile,” she said.
Kujinga pointed out that this product was aimed at bringing seamless currency flow in the country in the wake of cash shortages.
“Through this product, Zimbabweans can send money to any part of Zimbabwe. This is not virtual money but hard cash that will find its way to the most remote parts of Zimbabwe bringing convenience to the country’s marginalized.
“We have deliberately partnered with players who will make it easy for Zimbabweans from all walks of life anywhere to access hard cash. We believe that this solution will save our customers the financial inconvenience of traveling to cities in search of cash,” Kujinga said.
Some of Access Forex’s partners include ProFeeds, Quest Financial, Jet Stores, MyCash and various others to make up a comprehensive network of convenience.
“We will have consistent service delivery at the lowest charges. Market response has generally been optimistic because clients from as far as the United Kingdom are now able to send money home to the very last leg.
“What drove us to launch this product is the fact that we discovered getting cash to remote parts of the country was a hustle as we were working on our ‘Feed a Million Campaign’ a programme where we are giving back to the community,” she said.
The Access Forex Business Development boss said the firm was looking at covering Zimbabwe’s 210 districts through strategic partnerships by close of 2020.

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Access Finance goes global

HARARE, SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 – Finally! Zimbabweans will now be able to make global payments without a hustle.
Financial solutions firm, Access Finance, a registered bureau de change and money transfer agent, says it has developed a seamless payments product to facilitate global payments from Zimbabwe.
The firm – which already has a domestic remittances network spanning the whole country – has developed a product for import payments across the globe.
Access Finance’s Business Development Manager Mildret Kujinga said the finance solutions firm sought to plug the inconvenience clients have experienced over the past five years by failing to settle international obligations.
“Most Zimbabweans have been struggling to make payments outside the country. We have had students stranded outside the country, not because parents did not have the money to honour their obligations, but simply because parents could not find convenient ways of making these payments.
“Similarly, individuals have failed to sit for crucial examinations because they had failed to make payments to treasury bodies like the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and others.
“Our promise to our customers is that this is now a thing of the past. They can process these payments through us instantly,” Kujinga said.
Access Finance’s outbound remittances business enables customers to execute school and university fees payments, professional body subscriptions, import payments, medical bills and any other offshore payment that one may need to settle.
“There have been situations where clients needed to settle medical bills, say in India, but then had to watch loved ones waste away because there was simply no way of settling these bills.
“This will not happen again, as long as we can help it. Access will ensure these payments are made seamlessly,” Kujinga said.
Kujinga said the firm has proven capacity to facilitate payments across the world.
“We are licensed in the United Kingdom and South Africa with the exchange control authorities in both jurisdictions. We are not limited to Zimbabwe alone, we are global,” she said.
“We also do this locally. For instance, the parent is sitting on RTGS and wants to pay in USD or vice versa. Or they want to liquidate their nostro and still make payments. We are the go-to people because we will process all these payments without a hustle,” she added.
“Locally, we facilitate for conversion between foreign currencies and the Zimbabwean dollar. This makes us the go-to treasury and payments services provider.”, she added.
Highlighting that the company was equipped to do any currency switch ranging from ZAR to USD, GBP to USD, EUR to USD and vice versa, Kujinga said Access Forex also had in-house treasury solutions.
“For anything to do with forex, we are the go-to people. So, this means that even if you are traveling to any part of the world, you can visit us and we will switch the currencies for you without any hustle,” she said.

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Access Forex and African Basket Partnership Brings Zimbabweans Closer to Home

Access Forex has partnered with African Basket in Gauteng to bring Zimbabweans in South Africa closer to home. By partnering with African Basket, a Zimbabwean-owned retailer with 11 branches in Gauteng, Access Forex provides remittances to Zimbabweans. The Access Forex Remittance platform allows Zimbabweans abroad to send money home to loved ones seamlessly, quickly, and securely. The platform is accessible and makes sending money home more convenient than ever. Through Access Forex, recipients in Zimbabwe can collect funds sent conveniently, through local agents MyCash, Quest Financial Services, and Access Finance Registered Bureau De Change. Access Forex is now available at over 30 branches across Zimbabwe as it continues to grow its Access Forex guarantees its customers payouts in USD cash, as well as a pleasant and smooth experience with excellent customer service and no queues.

Within South Africa, the largest Zimbabwean population resides in Gauteng province. This makes African Basket particularly convenient to access, as well as the locations of their branches which are close to taxi ranks. Customers can send money home to Zimbabwe by visiting any of the 11 African Basket branches registering and depositing cash or swiping with their debit cards. Zimbabweans who reside outside of Gauteng province can visit the website www.accessforex..com and register on our self -service portal

Access Forex believes it has an important role in serving customers at home and abroad. “We are excited to have launched our home-grown solution in South Africa as well as the UK,” they stated. “Zimbabweans are best equipped to solve Zimbabwean problems and we are playing our part to equip and connect Zimbabweans at home and abroad.”

Remittances are growing in Zimbabwe and across Africa. Across the globe, migrant workers make a fundamental contribution to their families and communities back home by helping the sustainable development of their countries. Many Zimbabweans have emigrated to South Africa, leaving their loved ones behind at home. Zimbabweans abroad regularly send money to contribute to the needs of loved ones at home, from school fees and medical bills to the building of homes. Remittances also go a long way in supporting rural communities, who are often marginalized. Access Forex connects families, and in so doing it supports the contributions of Zimbabweans abroad to the needs and development of communities across the nation.

About Access Forex
Access Forex, a 100% Zimbabwean-owned remittances business, brings Zimbabweans in the UK and South Africa closer to home. The business is licensed by the South African Reserve Bank and FCA in the UK as a money transfer operator for remittances into Zimbabwe from the UK and South Africa.

For more information email help@accessforex.com. Alternatively, reach the Access Forex Call Centre by phoning +263 8677 180 221, or Whatsapp +263 776 302 424.

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Access Forex and Caritas Zimbabwe Join Hands to Feed a Million

Access Forex, an organisation providing remittance services for Zimbabweans in the UK and South Africa, has partnered with Caritas Zimbabwe as it rolls out its Feed a Million food aid initiative.
Founded in 1972 as the Commission for Social Services and Development (C.S.S.D), the agency is now known as Caritas Zimbabwe to identify itself with other Catholic charitable agencies throughout the whole world under Caritas Internationalis (CI) network of 162 Catholic relief aid, development and social service organisations working to build a better world, especially for the poor and oppressed. It operates under the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC.)

The initiative comes at a time of great need, as a slowing economy, COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown are impacting the country. Access Forex has committed a seed of USD200,000 towards a target fund of USD 1 million, and has created hampers containing UN-recommended food staples as well as sanitary products. Donations will begin in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls before rolling out in the rest of Zimbabwe.

Feed a Million donations will take place in line with government directives pertaining to COVID-19. Social distancing will be strictly adhered to in line with World Health Organisation, and a maximum of 50 people will be served at a time. For the additional safety of recipients, a medical officer will be present at each distribution site.

Dr George Chirwa, the Executive Director for Access Forex shared that Access Forex is making good progress towards its goal to #FeedAMillion. “Our initial distribution in Mbare and Epworth went extremely well and over the course of next week we will be in Bulawayo Mpopoma and Makokoba then we move to Chidobe in Victoria Falls.” he stated.

Marius Zibgwi, National Co-ordinator of Caritas Zimbabwe, also shared his vision for the impact for the Feed a Million initiative. “Access Forex is the first corporate to partner with us in this way. Our work is aiding those who are suffering from poverty and hunger, and this initiative will help us reach more people across the country. We hope that other corporates will also join in the effort to assist the most marginalised members of our communities.” he said.

Vulnerable people will be assisted through the Feed a Million Challenge, including child-headed homes, orphans and the elderly. As part of the initial donation, 2 500 individuals will receive hampers. Access Forex expects the Feed a Million initiative to grow into the future and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. The organisation believes strong partnerships by local businesses will be critical for solving local problems. Through such times of national crisis, results are achieved when we pull together. Through collaboration, we can Feed a Million.

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Access Forex Launches Feed A Million Campaign

Access Forex has committed an initial USD 200 000 to assist the most vulnerable segments society and communities across Zimbabwe who is now reeling from the negative impact of drought and the global Coronavirus pandemic.
The recent drought, which has resulted in a food crisis in the country coupled with the economic slowdown, and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the resultant subsequent lockdown, have had debilitating effects on families and communities. Access Forex, an organization providing bureau de change and remittance services for Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, mainly in the UK and South Africa, has taken the move to compliments efforts by the government and various other humanitarian organizations to help mitigate the devastating negative impact of dry weather conditions, the pandemic and economic downturn.
In partnership with churches and NGO community, as well as government, Access Forex will provide food aid in the form of hampers to the vulnerable and needy in the society.
Since most Zimbabweans are currently unemployed and are largely surviving on informal sector activities, they have been badly exposed to this situation and need help to go through these times of adversity.
The intervention will begin in Harare, Bulawayo and Victoria Falls before being rolled out to the rest of Zimbabwe.
Dr. George Chirwa, Executive Director Access Forex, said during the launch of the initiative that Zimbabwe and must work together to help each other during these hard times.
“Access Forex is a Zimbabwean business and as such it has some corporate social responsibilities. We believe that local organizations and people can play a big role in resolving Zimbabwe’s current challenges. This is initiative is our small way as a responsible corporate to a citizen of supporting the ZWL100 million fund recently announced by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Hon. Prof. Mthuli Ncube. The government needs help form all of us to deal with these challenges,” he said.
Chirwa also challenged other corporate citizens, individuals, and Zimbabweans in the diaspora to join the effort, and contribute to the goal of committing USD 1 million to serve those in need and help improve their lives.
The initiative to serve the marginalized people has been launched as the COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping through the country, but will continue into the future in an effort to serve the needs of the underprivileged communities. Corporates have a responsibility to the people around them and should step up to help feed a million through their donations. Through such strong partnerships, vulnerable people across Zimbabwe will receive food aid as we try to mitigate the impact of these combined adversities. Together, we have the power to #FeedAMillion.

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