HARARE, July 31 (The Source) – Zimbabwe received $409,5 million from the Diaspora in the first half of the year compared to $397,8 million the previous year as confidence in formal money transfer channels grows, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.
Remittances from millions of non-resident Zimbabweans are a significant contributor to the country’s economy, reaching $840 million in 2014 (about six percent of GPD and 23 percent of export earnings), up from $790 million the previous year.
The central bank estimates that Zimbabwe gets as much as $2 billion in annual Diaspora remittances, with only a fraction of that going through formal channels.
In a bid to draw the remittances into the formal banking system, the central bank last month licenced 27 money transfer operators.
Presenting the midterm fiscal policy review in Parliament on Thursday, finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said Diaspora remittances in the first half of the year were up three percent.
“This was on account of an increase in the number of people sending money through the formal system due to increased confidence in the money transfer agencies,” he said.
“In addition, efforts are being made in re-directing remittances into developmental areas through incentives.”
Chinamasa said the fall of the rand against the US dollar has affected travel and expenditure patterns of the South African source market, which has traditionally accounted for over 70 percent of Zimbabwe’s tourists.
“Hence, the tourism industry is considering development of a three-tier pricing system to drive regional and domestic tourism as a means to foster inclusivity,” he said.
This year Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is projected to grow by 5.1 percent, buoyed by aggressive destination marketing efforts.