WU: Currency shortages in Zimbabwe presents ‘unique challenges’

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  • Queues in WU agent locations have grown steadily
  • Zimbabwe’s major access to foreign currency includes remittances coming from abroad
  • The reserve bank says that it will investigate what is going on


International money transfer giant Western Union is experiencing “unique challenges” in Zimbabwe amidst currency shortages. Western Union outlets in Zimbabwe are only releasing a portion of remittances coming from abroad, according to reports. There is no mention if other money transfer services in the country are also doing the same thing.

A Standard Business survey done in the past weeks found that queues in the country’s Western Union outlets have kept growing with a number of recipients being asked to get the rest of their money at a later date.

The currency shortage is a huge issue as remittances coming from abroad are one of Zimbabwe’s primary sources of foreign currency. Western Union’s Ingrid Sahu, the company’s Vice President of Communications says: "Zimbabwe's current currency shortage presents some unique challenges. In order to continue to serve consumers in Zimbabwe, Western Union provides advance funding to our agents' banks accounts.” Despite this move, the problem still persists, according to reports.

Remittances this year alone have reached a whopping $400 million with Western Union processing most of these transfers as it is the leading remittance company in Zimbabwe. The firm has over 100 outlets in the country and most of them are still dealing with the currency shortage, based on recent reports.

However, Sahu notes that recipients can “seek payout at an alternative agent location” should they face a currency shortage in other branches. She adds: "If they have an Ecocash m-wallet, they could also choose to pull their Western Union transaction onto their Ecocash m-wallet, a popular m-wallet provider with over 6 million users in the country." The executive also suggested that clients can also get their money through their Ecobank account.

Find out more about Western Union here.

Andrea Barnes
Andrea is Communications Manager at FXcompared. Prior to joining FXcompared, she worked as a communications consultant for companies seeking guidance with their social media, marketing and digital… Read more

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