Kenya’s Rapid Communications has partnered with the UAE’s Al Ghurair Exchange and UK’s Aftab Currency Exchange to launch a new remittance service aimed at enabling diaspora to remit money directly to the bank accounts of recipients across West and East Africa.

The service enables Africans to send money directly from the authorised agent in the UAE directly to a specified beneficiary’s bank account in the preferred country, whether it is for a transfer to a family member, send emergency funds, or to pay bills for utilities, property rent of school fees.

Anwar Hussein, CEO, Rapid Communications, said: “We have noted an increase in the volume of cash remitted by Africans working and living abroad. This has been a centre of focus for telecommunication and money transfer firms that are all keen to cash-in on this growing segment of the market.”

In a flexible setup, senders are not required to register with the service, but simply to visit the agent’s outlets in the UK and UAE and provide the branch and account number of the recipients, their full names as they appear at the bank, telephone number and the country.

Rapid Communications’ service will also have the added benefit of having its customer service departments in each of the receiving countries contact the beneficiaries and inform them once the money is credited to their account, while providing the details of the sender.

Having perfected its simplified and customer-centric approach to remittances within Africa, the Nairobi-based company is hoping that it can achieve the same success in providing the diaspora with an alternative to the more established international money transfer circuit.

The service will be available in the UAE and UK for remittances to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Senegal, Mali, Benin, Togo, Niger, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast and also China.

Rapid Communications launched the service in Kenya on July 2013, following the enactment of the Money Remittance Regulations (2013), and all of its services adhere to the strict Anti-Money Laundry (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines that govern the flow of cash across the globe.

Comprehensive Connectivity

Kenya is certainly no stranger to an integrated approach between telecommunications and finance, with M-Pesa being one of the more famous examples, but Rapid Communications was also involved earlier this month in another tie-up with Kenya Power and Jamii Bora Bank to provide a mobile platform to assist in loan applications to fund power connections to homes and businesses.

At the time, Hussein noted: “Rapid Communication is honoured to be part of this agreement that will see power connection go up to 70% by 2015. We have the connection easier and convenient by enabling Kenyans apply for power and loan facility through their mobile phones wherever they are.”