Why do Africans pay the most to send money home?

From Global development | The Guardian Wed Jan 30 2013, 13:38:18

Migrants moving cash from Tanzania to Kenya pay average fees of 22%, but mobiles could make transfers cheaper and easier

Look on it as an extra income tax. If you earn money here, but want your family back home to spend it, then you can reckon on giving a healthy slice of it to someone for doing very little.

Fees for remitting money vary wildly between providers and countries. African migrants, who sent almost $60bn (£38bn) in remittances last year, pay the most. On average migrants sending money home to Africa lose 12% to fees. Moving money between African countries can cost much more - sending money to Tanzania from neighbouring Kenya or Rwanda, for example, costs an average of 22% (or a $44 cut on $200 transferred).

"It's horrifying," said Michael Clemens, of the Centre for Global Development, a thinktank based in Washington. "Really in a competitive environment there's no reason these things should be more than 2, 3 or 4% ... There's a justice component to it, there's no doubt about it."

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