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Archive for January, 2013

The how to guide

17 Jan

How to…

…Send money to Kenya

Whenever you send money to Kenya, you are most probably looking for convenience, speed and ease of service; reliability and probably more importantly, options. You want to evaluate each of the many options you have before you make any decisions. In this regard, new media technology has brought with it a wide array of constantly evolving options which you need to be aware of.

Whereas many years ago, banks were the only reliable method to carry out international money transfers, now there are many other cheaper and faster options available such as online providers, MTOs, prepaid cards and even by SMS. Below is a summary of money transfer providers, different options to transfer money and how they work

Money Transfer Operators (MTOs)

MTOs are companies that only offer money transfer services, usually through agents, and only send money between countries. They do not generally require you to open an account and are usually easy to find in high streets, where they can be located in various locations from post offices to hairdressers. You will need to fill in forms and provide identification to send your money. Some also offer online money transfer services and are also developing mobile phone transfers. For example – mukuru.com

High Street Banks/Building Societies

The majority of banks offer money transfer services, but in most cases you must either apply for or hold an account with the bank you wish to use. It is usually necessary for the person receiving the money to have a bank account also. Banks tend to be more expensive and take longer to transfer your money; however they do offer additional security and also opens the door for access additional financial products such as loans, mortgages and savings accounts.

Online money transfer services/internet money transfers

Money can be sent over the internet through secure online services, often for a very small fee, but you will need to have a bank account or credit card and access to the internet, or at least an e-mail address, to transfer the money; you will also have to register your details online. The person you are sending the money to may also need a bank account and access to the internet (or an e-mail address), but this is not always the case.

Foreign Exchange Providers (FX Brokers) – for transferring larger amounts of money

When transferring much larger amounts of money, for purchasing a property or starting up a business for example, or sending regular payments abroad, it may often be cheaper to use a reputable currency broker. In most cases, you will have to open an account with the company you intend to use and you will need to fund the account using a bank account or credit card. However, the benefits of using such companies’ means you can make specific arrangements for your individual needs such as fixed exchange rates for a set period.

Prepaid money cards

Prepaid cards have evolved and are now starting to become recognised as a convenient alternative to the traditional methods. A prepaid card operates in the same way as a credit card or debit card and tends to have many benefits. The cardholder would have to load funds onto the card before using it and can only spend what you have on the card. Prepaid cards are available in selected shops, or can be ordered through the companies online. Not oly are they useful for sending money overseas, they can also be used instead of travel money when travelling and for online purchases. They are also accepted at ATM’s globally (or wherever either Visa or Mastercard are accepted, depending on your type of card) for withdrawing funds.

New technology money transfers

There are more and more companies offering new ways to transfer your money and use new technologies for remitting money. For instance a debit card (such as VISA or Mastercard) is sent to the recipient that can then be topped up by the sender whenever necessary. Money can be withdrawn as and when it is needed through any ATM without the recipient needing a bank account. There is also a growing trend in using your mobile to send money by SMS, please check with your provider if this is possible.


One big global city

14 Jan

Globalisation, International trade, exchange rates and immigration; these are just some of the phrases that tell you we are living in the global village. Our understanding of this term is relative to our circumstance and the context in which the phrase is used. For me it is a metaphor of the new media technology and the speed and ease it has brought to different aspects of our lives.

The phrase speaks of connectivity, speed and an awareness of what is happening half way round the globe- when it happens; all of which are important to anyone who is living thousands of miles away from their loved ones.

Enter Kenya’s new mobile-money system called M-PESA. It is really is changing the way Kenyans manage their money, by letting them borrow, save and pay for services more easily. M-PESA is a mobile money transfer service in Kenya offered by Safaricom, which has attracted more than 13.5m customers since its launch in 2007. Its services have been welcomed by thousands of Kenyans working abroad. According to the Central Bank of Kenya, Kenyans living outside their home country sent USD642m home in 2010 – up from the USD609m sent home in 2009.

This means that, if for some odd reason you were not yet a part of this global village, all you need is a mobile phone and you are officially in!


Kenyan economy continies to grow

10 Jan

Experts say growth prospects remain firm and are projecting a 4.5 percent growth up. The forecasts are based on positive trends being witnessed among key economic segments.

Increased foreign investments, good rainfall and radical reforms in key socio-political and economic realms are some of the important factors that have driven meaningful economic growth in the country.

Good rainfall that was received across the country will result in good agricultural yields, while ongoing investments are injecting direct foreign capital into the economy as major reforms shake up governance. According to Renaissance Capital Kenya, this will in turn restore the country’s goodwill and confidence among strategic trading partners.

Kenya’s stuttering economic growth has been a causing a nightmare to its citizens, investors alike, who will certainly be relieved by these projections. The economy has shown resilience from the effects of the debilitating 2007/8 post election rukus which pushed it to the precipice.

Aftershocks of the global economic meltdown also trickled down to key economic segments occasioning cash crunch and liquidity challenges.

This, coupled with a prolonged drought recently made more than 10 million Kenyans depend on relief food and forced the government to seek international support to raise Ksh30billion for food.