DURBAN – Leading digital money transfer service WorldRemit has launched its low-cost digital money transfer service from South Africa as the company targets the money transfer market in Africa, with an initial public offering (IPO) on the horizon.

WorldRemit, with its global headquarters in London, said yesterday that it had opened a new office in Johannesburg to drive the growth of inter-Africa transfers through its services. 

WorldRemit currently handles money transfers from the US, UK, European and Asian countries to more than 40 African countries. 

Andrew Stewart, the managing director for Middle East and Africa at WorldRemit, said South Africa was one of WorldRemit’s top ten remittance receiving countries, with transactions to the country growing by more than 50 percent year-on-year. 

“We are delighted to start this next phase of our growth, enabling customers in South Africa to send digital money transfers to 145 countries worldwide, including Zimbabwe and Mozambique,” Stewart said.

“The launch of money transfers from South Africa is a major milestone, as the company targets the growing money transfer market within Africa. WorldRemit recently opened a new office in Johannesburg, as it aims to expand its partner network across the continent,” WorldRemit said.  

According to Bloomberg, the company has also secured partnerships with wireless carriers MTN Group and Vodacom Group to access their pan-Africa mobile-money services, Stewart said, adding to similar deals with Kenya’s Safaricom and Huawei.

WorldRemit has seen an opportunity in South Africa as, according to the World Bank, the country is the most expensive G20 country to send money from with an average cost of more than 15 percent for sending $200 (R2 755), which is more than double the global average. The group said currently 68 percent of remittances from South Africa are sent through informal channels such as unregistered courier services and buses crossing the border.

WorldRemit has partnered with Steward Bank, ZB Bank, Kaah Express and Quest Financial Services.

It said by using the WorldRemit app or website, customers can now send money as easily as sending an instant message to global destinations including Zimbabwe, Mozambique, the UK, India and Pakistan.

BUSINESS REPORT