Reducing costs and scaling up UK to Africa remittances through technology

Over the past two decades, there has been a digital revolution with pioneering developments in the form of the internet, email and mobile phones transforming the way information is accessed and communication takes place. For many market analysts, cross-border payments are the next frontier, where innovative technologies will challenge the expensive, clunky business models that currently exist. Mobile phone technology, mobile money, digital currencies, distributed ledgers, electronic identification and cloud technology together have the capacity, for the first time, to technically make cross- border payments negligible in cost, instant, auditable and accessible to everyone.

In light of this, the objective of the report is to assess whether the appropriate application of ‘new’ technologies could be leveraged by donors and other development agencies to increase formal remittance flows into Africa and/or reduce the cost of sending money home. Fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS) are of particular interest given the importance of remittances to livelihoods and post-conflict development, as well as the exacerbated challenges that are often faced in these jurisdictions.