Top 5 Countries Receiving Remittances in Africa

Remittances serve as a lifeline for millions of Africans, offering a range of tangible benefits like access to education, healthcare, and basic necessities, etc

The Top 5 Countries Receiving Remittances in Africa

In Africa, remittances have become a vital source of income, fueling economic growth, poverty reduction, and development. 

Remittances serve as a lifeline for millions of Africans, offering a range of tangible benefits. First and foremost, they provide essential support to families and loved ones left behind. These funds enable recipients to access education, healthcare, and basic necessities, thereby improving their overall quality of life. Remittances also contribute to poverty reduction by boosting household income and consumption levels, helping to bridge the gap between limited local opportunities and the costs of daily living.

Beyond the individual level, remittances have a profound impact on national economies. They provide a stable source of foreign exchange, which can help countries improve their balance of payments and strengthen their national currencies. According to the World Bank, remittance flows to Sub-Saharan Africa reached approximately $48 billion in 2019. Furthermore, remittances often serve as a catalyst for local entrepreneurship and investment, as some recipients choose to start businesses or invest in existing enterprises, fostering economic growth and job creation.

According to Statista’s 2022 report, the top 10 countries that receive remittances in Africa are as follows:

  1. Nigeria: $19.2 billion
  2. Ghana: $4.5 billion
  3. Kenya: $3.7 billion
  4. Senegal: $2.7 billion
  5. Zimbabwe: $2.0 billion
  6. Democratic Republic of Congo: $1.3 billion
  7. Uganda: $1.1 billion
  8. Mali: $1.1 billion
  9. South Africa: $900 million
  10. Togo: $700 million

However, this article explores the top 5 countries receiving remittances in Africa, and the impact of remittances on the country’s economy. By doing so, we aim to provide businesses and individuals with essential insights into efficient cross-border solutions across Africa. They Include:

1. Nigeria

When it comes to the remittance landscape in Africa, Nigeria undoubtedly stands at the forefront. As the largest economy and the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria plays a critical role in the continent’s remittance inflows. 

According to the World Bank, Nigeria accounted for almost a third of the total $48 billion remittance inflows in Africa in 2019. This significant volume is primarily due to the sizeable Nigerian diaspora, which is estimated to be about 15 million people worldwide. 

Remittances play a crucial role in Nigeria’s economy. According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, remittances accounted for 5.3% of Nigeria’s GDP in 2019. Further, remittances outpaced crude oil earnings in the same year, signifying its importance to the Nigerian economy. More so, Nigeria received the highest amount of remittances in Africa in 2020. As of 2022, Nigeria recorded a total of $19.2 billion in remittances. 

But it’s not just the economy that benefits. Remittances also directly improve the well-being of the Nigerian people. Funds sent home by the diaspora are often used for education, healthcare, and other essential services, thereby improving the quality of life. 

The Nigerian government acknowledges the critical role of remittances in its economy and has implemented policies to encourage more inflows. One such initiative is the Diaspora Bond, which allows Nigerians abroad to invest in their home country. 

The Future of Remittances in Nigeria 

While the impact of remittances on Nigeria’s economy is undeniable, there remain challenges to be addressed. High transaction costs and a lack of access to financial services for many Nigerians can hinder the potential benefits of remittances. 

However, the rise of digital remittance solutions presents a promising outlook. With more companies offering affordable, efficient cross-border solutions, the scope for remittances in Nigeria looks likely to continue growing.

2. Ghana

In recent years, Ghana has emerged as an important player in the remittance sector. The country’s growing diaspora is playing a significant role in driving remittances. According to the World Bank, remittance inflows to Ghana reached $3.5 billion in 2020. This is a significant contribution to the country’s GDP, highlighting the potential opportunity for businesses like yours. 

Mobile money has been a game-changer in Ghana’s remittance landscape. With over 40% of adults using mobile money services like MTN Mobile Money, Vodafone Cash, and AirtelTigo Money, it’s easier than ever for Ghanaians to receive and send money. In Ghana, the volume of mobile money transactions increased from 2.85 billion in 2020 to 4.26 billion in 2021, representing a 48.6 percent growth. Online money transfer platforms such as WorldRemit, YoguPay, and TransferWise are also widely used, enabling users to send money domestically and internationally. 

With the government’s commitment to leveraging remittances for national development, the future looks bright for Ghana’s remittance sector. This presents an opportunity for businesses to tap into the growing remittance market and deliver innovative solutions that meet the needs of Ghanaians both at home and abroad. 

3. Kenya

According to the Central Bank of Kenya, remittances have grown steadily over the years, reaching a record high of $3.09 billion in 2020. This growth has mainly been attributed to the increased use of digital platforms for transfers.

Kenya has made remarkable strides in leveraging technology to streamline remittances. The East African nation is famed for its innovative mobile money transfer service, M-Pesa, which has revolutionized the way Kenyans send and receive money. 

M-Pesa is a prime example of how mobile money platforms can boost financial inclusion and make remittance services more accessible. It has been particularly impactful in rural areas where banking services are scarce. 

Notably, traditional banking systems often have high transaction costs that deter people from using them. Mobile money, on the other hand, offers lower transaction fees, making it a preferred choice for many Kenyans both at home and abroad. 

Another advantage is the speed of transactions. Unlike traditional banking systems which can take days to process cross-border transfers, mobile money transfers are instant, facilitating faster access to funds. 

Challenges and Opportunities 

Despite the success story, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One of the key issues is the lack of interoperability between different mobile money platforms, which can hinder seamless money transfers. 

Nevertheless, the potential for growth remains immense. With the rise of fintech companies like Yogupay, EnovePay, Belfrics, Ku Coin, etc., and the continued penetration of mobile phones across the country, the future of remittances in Kenya looks promising. 

4. Senegal

According to statistics, Senegal received about $2.7 billion worth of remittances in 2022. In Senegal, remittances play a vital role in supporting livelihoods and enhancing economic stability. Remittances in Senegal fuel the economy, fostering entrepreneurship and enhancing livelihoods. A significant portion of these funds is directed toward meeting basic needs, such as food, education, and healthcare. 

Additionally, many families invest in income-generating activities, thus promoting economic growth and reducing poverty. They are a significant source of wealth and are often more stable than other forms of income. Moreover, they contribute to financial inclusion, empowering 

Looking ahead, Senegal’s remittance landscape looks promising.The country has seen significant growth in mobile money services, such as Orange Money and Wari, which provide convenient and secure ways to send and receive money. These platforms offer advantages such as lower transaction costs, faster transfer speeds, and improved accessibility for those in remote areas with limited access to traditional banking services.

Adopting digital payment platforms for remittances in Senegal can enhance financial inclusion and improve the overall remittance experience. It allows recipients to receive funds directly into their mobile wallets, reducing the reliance on cash-based transfers. Digital platforms also enable recipients to access a wider range of financial services, including savings accounts, insurance, and credit facilities. However, there are still challenges to overcome, such as ensuring greater access to digital platforms and reducing transfer costs. 

Senegal underscores the crucial role remittances play in Africa’s economy. As technology continues to evolve, it presents opportunities for more efficient and inclusive remittance systems, potentially transforming lives and economies across the continent.

5. Zimbabwe

According to statistics, Zimbabwe received over $2.0 billion in remittances in 2022. Remittances play a crucial role in the country’s economy, providing financial support to families and contributing to overall economic growth. Many Zimbabweans living abroad send money back home to their families, helping to meet basic needs, pay for education, healthcare, and even start small businesses. Remittances have become a lifeline for many households, especially in a country that has faced economic challenges in recent years.

However, despite the positive impact of remittances, Zimbabwe also faces challenges when it comes to cross-border remittances. One major challenge is the high cost of sending and receiving remittances. Fees and exchange rates can eat into the amount of money received, reducing the actual benefit to the recipient. 

Nevertheless, there are opportunities for Zimbabwe to leverage remittances for economic development. One such opportunity lies in promoting financial inclusion through digital payment platforms. By encouraging the use of digital payment systems, such as mobile money and online banking, Zimbabwe can reduce the reliance on cash-based remittances, which are more prone to theft and fraud. Digital platforms can provide safer, more efficient, and cost-effective ways of sending and receiving remittances.

The adoption of digital payment platforms in Zimbabwe has been steadily increasing in recent years. Mobile money services, such as EcoCash, have gained popularity and are widely used for various financial transactions, including remittances. These platforms allow Zimbabweans to receive remittances directly onto their mobile wallets, providing easier access to funds and reducing the need for physical cash.

This adoption allows for faster and more convenient transactions, enabling recipients to access funds immediately. It also promotes financial inclusion by providing access to formal financial services to those who may not have had access before. Additionally, digital platforms offer opportunities for financial innovation, such as micro-loans and savings, tailored to the needs of remittance recipients.


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