Zim Diaspora remits $1,4 billion

Lovemore Mataire Senior Reporter
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have remitted US$1,4 billion in the past two years and the figure could be higher if non-formal remittances are included.
Statistics from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe indicate that in 2012, total remittances, including those of industrial organisations, amounted to US$2,1 billion, while in 2013 remittances totalled US$1,8 billion.

A Reserve Bank official said yesterday that the amount could be higher given that a substantial amount of diaspora remittances continued to be transmitted through informal channels.

He said although the total remittances may show a decline, there was actually an upsurge in terms of individual remittances.

The official said of the US$2,1 billion recorded in 2012, US$655 million were individual remittances by Zimbabweans, while US$764 million was part of the US$1,8 billion recorded last year.

“There was actually an increase in individual remittances from 2012 to 2013,” he said. “In 2012, individual remittances were US$655 million and last year the figure was US$764 million, which shows that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have confidence in the economic prospects of our country.”

The official said at least 50 percent of remittances came through informal channels and the central bank was in the process of devising strategies to ensure that a larger chunk of remittances came through formal banking channels. Zimbabwe has a strong skilled and non-skilled Diaspora population mainly in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United States, who regularly send money back home to sustain their families.

Although it is difficult to verify the full statistics of remittances and other contributions, the RBZ said it was exploring other suitable facilities to effectively harness Diaspora savings for the development of the economy.

The central bank said the total decline in total remittance recorded last year was not a fair barometer in judging the Diaspora contributions as these were mainly from non-governmental and international organisations which could have been affected by a number of factors that include the global economic slow-down, subdued inflows from foreign investment, offshore credit lines and foreign aid.

In his 2014 Budget Statement, Finance Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa said most countries in the world, including Zimbabwe’s regional neighbours, were benefiting immensely from financial transfers by their nationals in the Diaspora. He said there were plans by the Government to introduce a Diaspora bond to tap into the market.

According to the World Bank, African Diaspora savings, at US$53 billion every year, exceed annual remittances to the continent and are mostly invested abroad.

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  • Tichayana

    Government wishes to increase control of remittances from potential Diaspora US$ billions, but remains reticent and hypocritical over transparent clarification of dual citizenship and implementing measures for Zimbabwean voting rights in countries of residence for millions of diasporans.
    Until Government walks the talk and respects the rights of all citizens under the new constitution, most of the possible Diaspora benefits will remain invisible through informal channels.

    • Wakisai

      True, Mudede refuses to acknowledge the generality of recent Constitutional Court rulings. At the very least a circular should be sent to all his offices and employees giving guidlines to respect the spirit of the constitution, even if alignment or repeal of illegal laws with the constitution have not yet been finalised.

    • mpengo

      Are we reading the same article?

      Bonds are investment vehicles. VOLUNTARY

      What control?


  • mpengo

    But that money goes back outside the country as the bulk of it is used on imported FMCG especially SA.chicken,market produce,household detergents, oil, clothes,rice,milk,eggs,crisps etc are all from outside. Gvt should put higher tarrifs on those to support the local market.

  • Diaspora

    Pple in the diaspora used to be a laughing stock,tainzi napresident vamwe venyu murikumhanyira KuNgirandi,kwamurikunoita mabasa etsvina,look at how much we are contributing now.Most families in Zimbabwe have been able to keep their heads above water because of relatives in the diaspora sending them money.

  • Mukaro

    What is we have a diaspora farm purchase scheme. We spread it over 30years to make them affordable for those in diaspora. Maybe not discriminate some of us here by giving same conditions to locals. That way, you get guaranteed billions over 30 years from your own citizens thus not selling the country to foreigners. I bet after having invested so much one will want to make cash out of the land and will either rent out or farm profitably. We achieve two things, put value to our land and get production up. Mafungirowo angu.

    • mpengo

      Not a bad idea. BUT Not everyone wants to farm.

      Just equal opportunities.

      Amongst the indigenous, there is great inequality in terms of opportunities.

      Through corruption that has grown roots in our way of life.

  • Stanford

    We do not have confidence in the Zimbabwe economy at all becaue there is no economy to talk about. Let me tell you the truth. I send $460 per term for my child who is in boarding school and $200 per month for his montly visit and some groceries. My mother is given $100 for that $200. The money we send home is for the up keep of those we left at home who can not make a living. With the exorbitant costs of property in Zimbabwe, we are not able to invest there at all. A good house costs around R900000 here for which the bond amount is less than R9000 per month. For a similar property in Zimbabwe, one has to part with no less than $150000. Where can I get the confidence in a market like that one? Besides the high interest rates and lack for bond financing, there is the evidence of a scarry economy. Simply maths also tells you that I send at least $4380 to Zimbabwe every year. If this is the average amount sent home by a a person in diaspora, then less than174000 people send that amount home to total $760m mentioned above. From this figure you can infer that Zimbabweans in diaspora actually send much more than reported given that we are millions of us out here and also that some individuals send much more. We could be sending more than the Zimbabwe GDP. In conclusion, dont get confused with these figures and the purpose for which we send money.

  • Siyakhuluma Tinotaura Chete

    Give the Diaspora vote, the majority of them support and hope for a prosperous Zimbabwe. I personally strongly believe that once production improves at our farms this segment can stimulate growth. At present the Diaspora money is used to import food , medicines and other items which , the country can produce.
    If we reach a stage where our own Diasporans can buy into government economic programs , trust will follow, and after this even foreigners willl tickle back with or without “illegal sanctions”. There is that Zimbabwean nationalism which has been killed by CORRUPTION and CROYNISM

  • jethro Zuwarimwe

    Remittances increase is not a sign of confidence in the economy but its just people outside the country just want to support their families. One would also say it could be the opposite when people at home might be struggling more hence those outside have to increase the remittances. As a point of advice the central bank has to come up with policies that encourage not punish the diasporans otherwise they will resort to informal means

  • Mukaro

    Sipping my scud with my colleagues paweekend, I was asked an interesting question. A brigadier had been conferred heroes status and I was asked why we don’t see those in diaspora as heroes?

    Before independence, it was more confortable to remain in Highfield and suffer discrimination along with everybody else. It was more dangerous and unrewarding to go to the war, you missed school, social life and comfort of your location house. The can be said when things got really bad at home after 2000, the bold left and started a new life.

    They did jobs we can not event mention but they saved the country. Yes, they saved it from collapse. It was not Gono’s Bacosi but dollars from the diaspora which saved our government. Now, the same people are admittedly the largest contributor to our GDP. What is a hero really, who is more patriotic, the fearful or the bold who went musango to hunt?

    I’m now very old but salute vazukuru vakaenda mhiri. Ini, I am stuck in Houghton Park with no earnings at all reminiscing on my hay days when I was a director of a company.