Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Zim Ex pats keep families afloat

From All Africa:

The scale of migration to Britain by Zimbabweans escaping their country's economic and political woes has reached the point where, with typically wry humour, London is referred to as "Harare North".

An estimated three million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the total population, have packed their bags and left home. Most, typically the semi-skilled, have opted for neighbouring countries, but many others have chosen Britain's green, if damp, pastures.


A 2006 study found that at least half of all households in Harare and Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, were regular recipients of goods and money from relatives living outside the country. ..

It is a simple process: the money is deposited into the company's bank account in Britain, and the funds are transferred directly to the beneficiary's bank account in Zimbabwe. John, the accountant, said this was the best way of remitting money as it attracted the government's highly overvalued exchange rate....

One of the biggest online remitting companies,, allows people to pay for privately imported fuel in Britain. Their relatives are alerted to the transfer by SMS and collect their vouchers, which they then redeem for fuel. UK-based Zimbabweans can also pay for groceries imported from South Africa, and provide their relations with access to treatment via medical insurance taken out in Britain....

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