Italian Banks Support Migration Development Initiative
The Italian cooperative banking system has
decided to support an IOM migration and development programme by
looking at new ways of providing immigrants with banking services
and of reducing the transfer costs of remittances.
The IOM programme, funded by the Italian
government and aimed at helping migrants invest in and establish
businesses back home, has already seen a number of cassava farms
established in Ghana and a group of Ghanaian migrants have been
helped to set up a cooperative to import and market exotic fruit in
the Emilia Romagna region of the country. The exotic fruit
cooperative, which specialises particularly in pineapples, has been
so successful that it is now studying options to acquire land in
Ghana to develop a supply base for their sales network.
A new phase of the programme is now focusing
on improving conditions for Ghanaian and Senegalese migrants living
in Italy to access the formal banking sector, on reducing the
transfer costs of remittances and on providing training for
migrants and their partners back home who wish to develop new
The Italian banking cooperative, Iccrea,
representing a group of 450 banks is providing support by trying to
address these issues, particularly the question of reducing the
transfer costs of migrant remittances from Italy. Each year,
migrants in Italy send home about 5 billion Euros.
This week, a group of Italian bankers
accompanied IOM's regional representative in Rome to the Ghanaian
capital, Accra, for talks on this subject. During the trip, which
ends today, the delegation met the Ghanaian Minister for Private
Sector Development, the Deputy Foreign Minister, senior government
officials, the Italian ambassador to Accra and a number of Ghanaian
banks and micro-finance institutions.
While there was little previous contact
between the banking sector in Italy and Ghana, the now established
direct links should allow for the development of user-friendly
solutions. It is also hoped that such collaboration will enable
more of the remittance transfers to move from the informal sector
into safer formal channels. Through both informal and formal
channels, the Ghanaian diaspora remit US$4.5 billion a year.
For information please contact: