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How Remittances Will Inspire Positive Change Back Across Africa this Holiday Season

WorldRemit breaks down how this common practice of giving contributes to the wellbeing of our communities back home.

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Sending remittances back home this holiday season is important to many immigrants in the US and around the world. In some cultures; people are taught that when you 'succeed', it's important to give back to the people and community that helped you. Sending back money is often perceived as an investment of a special kind — one that not only handles basic family needs but, positively contributes to the social and economic wellbeing of the receiving community. This practice of giving is reflected in the cultural expectations and practice of sending remittances to family and friends across Africa, especially during the holidays.

Money that is sent back home is used for everyday necessities such as food, clothing, housing, education and to fund festive occasions such as Christmas and New Year's celebrations.


Establishing Financial Inclusion and Improving Standard of Living

Financial inclusion is important for sustaining the livelihoods of people back home however this requires access to basic financial services that are affordable and convenient. Remittances lift millions of people and households out of poverty by improving living standards, as well as decreasing the demand for government services. This can help families and individuals on the road to financial independence, savings and investment.

Inclusive finance provides a secure place to keep money, accumulate assets and promotes a sense of dignity regardless of social standing or economic status. All of this can be made possible through the remittances sent by Africans in the diaspora. Credit constraints of unbanked households in poor rural areas can be eased by remittances as it can also facilitate asset accumulation, promote financial literacy and reduce poverty.

Through the WorldRemit platform, senders of remittances can do so digitally (cashless). It's as easy as sending a text message, making the process convenient and affordable to both the sender and the receiver.

Improve Education

There is a connection between remittances and investment in education. Remittance flows have a positive impact on the level of educational investment in children leading to more educated and therefore more stable and empowered families and communities. With the remittances sent back home, the number of children being enrolled in schools increases and the children being forced to stop going to school due to lack of funds or forced into menial labour decreases.

In addition, remittances can help children stay in school even if the funds are not being used specifically for educational investment. When families don't have to worry about making ends meet, children are more likely to finish their education.

Contribution to Employment and Entrepreneurship

One of the major characteristics of developing countries is the high unemployment rates amongst its population. Remittances provide capital to small entrepreneurs and therefore increases entrepreneurship. This is essential because countries that receive a large amount of remittances often have inadequate access to credit for vast portions of the population. While most remittances are used to pay for family consumption, many Africans in the diaspora use part of their earnings to set up businesses in their home country, which in turn provides jobs and employment opportunities.

By providing a solution that would make it easy to send money digitally (cashless), saving time and money in the process, remittances can be sent more conveniently and in larger amounts contributing to reducing unemployment challenges by creating more business and job opportunities.

An Effective Way to Send Money

To positively contribute back home, Africans in the diaspora need to be able to send money conveniently, securely and in the most cost effective way. The answer is to send digitally via the web or an app from their phones-, this not only saves time and money but results in reduced transaction fees. With the cost of remittance transfers drastically reduced by companies like WorldRemit, more money can be sent to improve the lives and livelihood of people back home.

To completely remove any barrier from sending this Christmas, WorldRemit is currently offering new customers zero fees on their first three transfers when they send money with us. All you need to do is use the code: "3FREE" when making payment. It's super simple to sign up and you can start sending money in minutes. See www.worldremit.com/3FREE for more details (T&Cs apply).







Interview
Photo: Benoit Peverelli

Interview: Oumou Sangaré Proves Why She's the Songbird of Wassoulou

We caught up with the Malian singer to talk about her new Acoustic album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

When Oumou Sangaré tells me freedom is at her core, I am not surprised. If you listen to her discography, you'll be hard-pressed to find a song that doesn't center or in some way touch on women's rights or child abuse. The Grammy award-winning Malian singer has spent a significant part of her career using her voice to fight for the rights of women across Africa and the world, a testimony to this is her naming her debut studio album Moussolou, meaning Woman. The album, a pure masterpiece that solidified Oumou's place amongst the greats and earned her the name 'Songbird of Wassoulou,' was a commercial success selling over 250,000 records in Africa and would in turn go on to inspire other singers across the world.

On her latest body of work Acoustic, a reworking of her critically acclaimed 2017 album Mogoya, Oumou Sangaré proves how and why she earned her accolades. The entirety of the 11-track album was recorded within two days in the Midi Live studio in Villetaneuse in 'live' conditions—with no amplification, no retakes or overdubs, no headphones. Throughout the album, using her powerful and raw voice that has come to define feminism in Africa and shaped opinions across the continent, Oumou boldly addresses themes like loss, polygamy and female circumcision.

We caught up with the Malian singer at the studio she is staying while in quarantine to talk about her new album, longevity as an artist, and growing up in Mali.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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