The remittance money sent back home by Ethiopians in the Diaspora generates an equivalent amount of money to the revenue the country gets from export. This was disclosed on a business forum organized by the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations on June the 8th, 2012, at Addis Ababa Hilton. It was revealed that in the year 2010- 2011, Ethiopians living abroad sent about 3 Billion USD, a sum equivalent to the country’s export earnings.
Tamrat Mammo, Manager of Customer Services at the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, who made presentation on the business forum, underlined both direct and indirect money transfer methods had contributed to the massive influx of money to the country. He also mentioned that the Ethiopian Commercial Bank is now working in collaboration with various stake holders to encourage Ethiopians living abroad to use direct money transfer methods through banks. Expanding its service bases, the bank is working with a number of money transfer services around the world.
Answering questions from the floor on service charges levied by the banks on customers to send money, lots of Ethiopians are forced to send via individuals, Tamrat stressed that the Commercial Bank doesn’t charge any sort of service fees for money sent back to Ethiopia. The bank converts the money sent to local currency and transfers all of it to the recipients. This is a strategy the commercial bank has been working on for a while to encourage money transfer (hawala) services, he added.
This influx of money from abroad has contributed positively to increase and diversify the country’s foreign currency reserves to a certain degree. The money transfer services that was totally dominated by foreign agents in recent past has now been opened to local banks giving them a chance to work with international agents. Members of the private sector and delegates of various companies have attended the chamber forum sponsored by the Ethiopian Commercial Bank.