A LIRNEasia research paper examining the potential demand and use of mobile phones for remitting money between migrant workers and their beneficiaries has been published in the latest issue of Info (Vol 13, Issue 3). The paper is authored by Nirmali Sivapragasam, Aileen Aguero (DIRSI) and Dr. Harsha de Silva. The paper is based on findings from LIRNEasia‘s Teleuse@BOP3 study. The paper can be downloaded here.
Makes eminent sense for a telco operating in the Gulf and in Sri Lanka to offer mpayment services. Also makes eminent sense to abolish excessive roaming charges within countries they operate in, like Zain (in the process of becoming part of Bharti). And even selling Etisalat SIMs to our workers before they go to Dubai. Etisalat’s new Sri Lankan mobile subsidiary is in talks with banks to offer financial services on mobile phones, such as money transfers for migrant workers in the Middle East, a senior company official said. Riyaaz Rasheed deputy chief executive of Etisalat Lanka said the mobile operator is seeking to tie-up with banks to offer the financial services.
Bangladesh exported 50 percent less manpower in 2009. Thousands of jobless workers also returned home as their employers went broke after the Wall Street collapsed. Yet inward remittance grew by 20 percent ($10.72 billion) in 2009. How could fewer workers send the highest-ever remittance?
LIRNEasia‘s recent research on ICT use and remittances among migrant workers was released in Dhaka on 28 June 2009. The study of over 1,500 domestic and overseas migrant workers in six Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka) has yielded some interesting insights in Bangladesh, with important policy implications. Demand for communication among Bangaldeshi migrants surveyed was particularly high compared to the other countries surveyed; a significant number of overseas migrants even used the Internet to call home. Bangladeshi migrants were sending home around half of their salaries on average, mostly through banks, and hand-carried in cash. Mobiles play a key role in coordinating remittances; a small number of overseas migrants were even sending money home through their mobiles.
Last year as many as 190m migrant workers sent cash home, according to the World Bank. These remittances amounted to US$337 billion, of which US$251 billion went to developing countries. But the cost of sending hard-earned cash depends on both the source and destination. On average, sending US$500 from Spain to Brazil will incur a modest charge of US$7.68, or a 1.