IOM, Partners Improve International Money Transfer Service for Burundian Diaspora, Rural Communities

Posted: 
11/27/18

Brussels – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, recently upgraded the Rungika domestic money transfer system in collaboration with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the Burundi National Postal Service (RNP). The system, designed to boost cost-efficient and secure money transfers between the diaspora and the communities of Burundi, is now available at the international level.

In launching its international corridor, in partnership with RIA Money Transfer, Rungika will leverage upon the already operational domestic money transfer service. It follows the completion of a pilot phase that involved the Government of Burundi through its postal network and the UPU.

The Rungika project aims to strengthen the link between migration and development, as well as to support financial education and communication among rural communities in Burundi. It was developed after analysis revealed that Burundi’s rural areas were affected by issues such as expensive informal remittances, financial exclusion, communication difficulties and a lack of economic opportunities – all of which are barriers to the socio-economic development of migrants and rural communities.

With the international money transfer service activated, trends show that affordable money transfer is positioned to grow even further. Via the 144 national Rungika agencies, the RNP has been facilitating domestic money transfers for clients in remote areas across Burundi since 19 June 2017.

As of November 2018, RNP has received nearly 20,000 deposits, amounting to a total of 1,238,284,150 Burundian Francs (approximately USD 695,400). Between October 2017 and March 2018, several road shows took place in Burundi’s major provinces to popularize Rungika, and marketing and communication activities such as radio programmes and TV spots have been rolled out since October 2017.

“Thanks to the support of its partners, IOM, UPU and RIA, this new money transfer corridor will position RNP as a key player in international remittances in Burundi,” said Odette Bolly, Labour Migration and Human Development Officer at IOM Burundi.

Olivier Boussard, Resource Mobilization and Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator for UPU, said: “We are delighted to launch this new international remittance service. It is a very important milestone for us and the result of a very solid and fruitful partnership between the Universal Postal Union and the International Organization for Migration. We are joining forces to support the migration and convinced that we will make an impact, both in fostering financial inclusion and in better serving migrant populations with an affordable and accessible money transfer service through the postal network.”

The Rungika project contributes to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10 Target 10C, which aims to reduce the transaction costs of remittances. In Burundi, IOM continues to support migration for development by facilitating the positive use of remittances in rural areas; promoting investment opportunities for the diaspora; mobilizing the competencies of Burundian diaspora to contribute to the reconstruction, national development and nation-building goals of their country of origin; and building capacities and strategic partnerships with the private sector.

Additionally, IOM is supporting the government in the development of a National Migration Policy that will be coupled with the negotiation of Bilateral Labour Agreements with key destination countries of Burundian migrant workers. All these initiatives are designed to enhance financial inclusion and empowerment, and better protect Burundian migrant workers’ rights.

For more information please contact Odette Bolly at IOM Burundi, Tel +257 75 40 0221, Email: obolly@iom.int

  • Odette Bolly, IOM Burundi, introduces the panel of stakeholders involved in the launch of international money transfer service ‘Rungika’.