Online money transfer service WorldRemit today launches instant Mobile Money transfers to Burundi, the first remittance service to do so. Customers in 50 countries can now send money direct to EcoCash mobile wallets – just like an instant message.
WorldRemit’s mobile-to-mobile remittance service already enables people to send funds direct to Mobile Money wallets in countries across Africa, Asia and Oceania. Now the 350,000 Burundians who live abroad can make instant, low-cost money transfers direct to the mobiles of their friends and family in Burundi.
Econet’s EcoCash mobile wallet is available to the two million feature phone and smartphone connections in Burundi. With only 7% of the adult population of Burundi population banked, there are now more Mobile Money accounts than bank accounts in Burundi  .
Remittances are estimated to have contributed $51m to Burundi’s economy in 2014, according to the World Bank. Western countries such as the US, Canada, the UK, France, Belgium, Sweden and Australia all have significant Burundian communities.
Alix Murphy, senior mobile analyst at WorldRemit comments: “93% of adults in Burundi are unbanked, severely limiting financial security, job prospects and economic freedom. Mobile Money services such as EcoCash enable people to access financial services through their mobile phones, making the ‘unbanked’ for the very first time the ‘mobile banked’.
Our partnership with EcoCash means that people will no longer have to send remittances through illegal channels or pay high fees for cash to be picked up at inconvenient agent locations. Burundians can now receive money transfers straight to their mobile phones, just like an instant message.”