Abu Dhabi’s UAE Exchange, a money transfer and foreign exchange company, is looking to expand it operations in Africa to include markets such as Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, according to Sudhir Kumar Shetty, chief operations officer of global operations.
Now in the market for 34 years, UAE Exchange is present in eight African countries, including Kenya, Uganda and Zambia, and a presence in every GCC markets except Saudi Arabia. The business has 135 branches in the UAE, and in all has more than 725 branches in 32 countries.
“On average, we add roughly 100 new locations every year. The UAE in particular will probably have 10 to 15 branches every year,” Shetty told Gulf News.
“When we put up our plan for expansion, we always look at the most active remittance corridors. India is the largest recipient of foreign remittance, but we are now also focusing on Africa because there is a lot of remittance there: inbound, outbound, and domestic.”
As for product expansion, the company is looking into new channels of remittance such as online remittance and telephone remittance, and are open to working with multiple banks.
“The charges for money transfer vary depending on the corridor and various other factors. If online money transfer is introduced, we don’t see any major difference in the prices except for some convenience fee, normally charged for any such online transaction,” Shetty said.
In 2013, UAE Exchange handled $25.4bn in remittances, 6.1% share of the global volume, and nearly half of that came from the UAE where it has its largest network of branches.
Sudhir Kumar Shetty notably took up the role of a historical king in the film ‘Travancore: a Saga of Benevolence’, a piece of documentary cinema entered in the 2012 Kerala State Film Awards.
Shetty played Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the King of Travancore from 1929-1958, while the elder Dr. Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, joint founder, MD & CEO of UAE Exchange, played the role of Dharmaraja, the King of Travancore from 1758-98.