The overall objective of the workshop was to provide a platform for representatives from African Central Banks, regulators and supervision bodies, private sector and technical partners to share experience on the designing of sound and effective remittance market regulation, aiming at improving the market situation.
The specific objectives of the workshop were to:-
i. Provide a forum for exchanging ideas and sharing experiences on the various legal and regulatory frameworks in the African Union Member States;
ii. Share the outcome of the technical assistance program on the legal and regulatory framework to AU Member States.
In total, 51 participants attended the meeting. Attendees were representatives from regional and national Central Banks, including BCEAO Headquarters, BEAC Headquarters, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda, Zimbabwe; Funding and Technical partners: the European Union Delegation to the African Union and the International Center for Migration and Policy Development (ICMPD); Private Sector: MFS-Africa and Zeepay. Participants were mostly from legal, payment system and regulatory units of Central Banks.
Topics of discussion
The workshop had a total of nine main sessions, namely Session 1: Overview on the global remittances industry: Evolution and Trends; Session 2: Functioning of the remittance market; Session 3: Regulatory challenges at the global level; Session 4: Comparative analysis of the legal frameworks in the remittance market of African Union Member States; Session 5: Designing sound legal and regulatory framework; Session 6: Impact of innovative sound legal and regulatory frameworks on costs, efficiency and compliance; Session 7: Group discussions on four thematic areas; (1) Compliance challenges in remittance market place: striking a balance between lowering costs and compliance. (2) De-risking in the remittance market: What are the main drivers (3) Regulatory challenges; need to balance between secure and level playing field market to achieve competitive and innovative market (4) What can be done to facilitate formal remittances? and Session 8: Feedback from the groups and Session 9: Way Forward and adoption of the report.
1. Member States (MS) with the assistance of AIR should design/upgrade specific legal and regulatory frameworks for remittance market that would support competition, efficiency, innovative environment, improved infrastructure and protect consumers. This would call for wide consultations with stakeholders when amending/upgrading the laws and policies.
2. AIR should bring to the attention of the AU MS the challenges of de-risking and existing as well as other emerging issues in the remittance market. This could be achieved through training , brochures and leaflets.
3. MS should promote interoperability between mobile payments systems within and across the region to reduce costs of cross border money transfers. This could be achieved by harmonizing rules and regulations which hinder cross border transactions within the region.
4. There is need for financial literacy for the diaspora on the availability of other payment platforms beyond the standard payment points.