HARARE – Steward Bank, a member of EcoCash Holdings Zimbabwe Limited, has announced new partnerships with international money transfer service providers Senditoo and Thunes, further expanding its growing remittance network to over half a dozen partners.
The new partnerships are expected to increase foreign currency inflows into the country as people living and working abroad get more convenient channels to send money back home through the additional service providers. The new partnerships are also expected to offer ease of access for local beneficiaries who will be able to collect the remitted funds at any Steward Bank branch throughout the country.
Zimbabwe has been battling foreign currency shortages over the past few years due to a number of reasons, among them low foreign direct investment and a lack of access to cheap international loans.
Mr Courage Mashavave, Steward Bank’s chief executive, said the financial institution was pleased to be playing its part in contributing to foreign currency inflows into the country by partnering with leading international remittance players to offer fast and affordable transfers to support local citizens and the Zimbabwean economy.
“A considerable number of families in Zimbabwe depend on remittances to put food on the table and address other expenses. These new partnerships give further options for Zimbabweans abroad wishing to send money to their loved ones back home to do so conveniently and safely,” he said, announcing the unveiling of the partnerships on Friday.
He added that Steward Bank, which currently partners Sasai Remit (formerly Cassava Remit UK and EcoCash Remit SA), World Remit, Small World, Mama Money in addition to Senditoo and Thunes, was committed to enhancing financial inclusion by integrating diverse payment systems.
Senditoo is an international value remittance service co-founded by Zimbabwean-born techpreneur, Mr Takwana Tyaranini in 2016. The fintech has rapidly grown and now covers 39 countries in Africa. Thunes is a Singapore cross-border payments fintech, with a global network in 113 countries.
Mr Mashavave said the new partnerships will enhance his bank’s global coverage and make international remittances more convenient to both the bank’s account holders and unbanked customers in Zimbabwe.
Remittance transfers are fast becoming the preferred means of sending money home as they offer real-time transactions that are simple and safe. According to the World Bank, remittance flows to Sub-Saharan Africa are projected to rise by 2.6 percent this year, from US$42 billion in 2020, supported by improving prospects for growth in high-income countries.
An estimated 2.5 to 3 million Zimbabweans live abroad and each year send a significant amount of money to support their family back home.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube recently said foreign currency remittances from the diaspora reached US$1 billion in 2020 alone, compared with US$636 million in 2019.