The World Bank and the African Union have launched a new initiative aimed at promoting cheap international money transfers to and from Africa.
As part of the Send Money Africa online database, consumers will be able to compare the prices charged by different international money transfer companies so they can obtain the best deal when sending money home or abroad.
In addition, the online database provides consumers with a range of essential information about the various methods by which money can be sent, the amount of time it takes before a recipient can collect remittances, the exchange rates charged for each transaction and places where money can be collected.
Consumers can also obtain information about the actual amount of money recipients will receive in the local currency of the destination money is sent to.
Send Money Africa is expected to provide a greater level of transparency in the overseas currency transfer market and increase competition between providers so costs can be driven down.
Send Money Africa current provides information about the price of sending comparatively small amounts of money (the equivalent of £128) for 15 major sending countries around the world and 27 receiving countries across Africa.
According to the World Bank Remittance Prices Worldwide database, Africa is the most expensive region in the world to send money to. It costs on average more than 12 per cent of the remittance to send money to Africa, compared to the average cost of nine per cent.
Remittances to Africa represent the second largest source of foreign financial inflows after foreign direct investment.
The database is published by the Payment Systems Development Group of the World Bank Financial and Private Sector Development Vice Presidency in association with the African Institute for Remittances Project, which is managed by the World Bank Africa Region Vice Presidency and funded by the European Commission.