‘Why I Applied For A Remittance Licence’ – By Strive Masiyiwa
Following the announcement of the Sasai Remittance service last week, the Econet group founder and Executive Chairman Strive Masiyiwa has revealed what inspired him to apply for the remittance licence.
Writing on his Facebook blog, Masiyiwa says it all started when he discovered that his housekeeper in South Africa, a Zimbabwean, was paying remittance commissions of up to 20% to send money back home to Zimbabwe.
Masiyiwa, the billionaire entrepreneur, philanthropist, mentor and influencer – with a Facebook following of close to 4 million people – makes the revelation in a post in which he stresses the point that entrepreneurial opportunities lie in the problems people face every day.
“The problems and frustrations you deal with, or you see, can be converted into massive entrepreneurial opportunities,” says Masiyiwa, as he writes about what he learnt from his housekeeper’s predicament.
“She was paying R20 for every R100 she sent home, and I thought this was wrong”.
Masiyiwa then says this led him to study the whole remittance industry.
“I was stunned to learn that Africans sent home more than US$60 billion a year, and those who send the money actually pay over US$6 billion in (remittance) fees”.
The Econet founder says upon this discovery, as an entrepreneur, he immediately applied “The only skill I have, #EntrepreneurIt!”
He describes #EntrepreneurIt as finding “a disruptive model that turns the whole game on its head”.
Masiyiwa says his study led him, through his Cassava Fintech International business, to design a solution, apply to the South African Central Bank for a Remittance licence and – with the necessary approvals – move to launch Sasai Remittances.
“We have reduced the R20 to R2.50,” Masiyiwa writes, describing how the new service is set to disrupt the remittance space and turn his housekeeper’s problem into an opportunity for millions of Africans in the Diaspora.
Masiyiwa says they had obtained licenses for people to send money anywhere in Africa from South Africa, adding that they had also obtained licenses for the UK and the US.
Last week Cassava Fintech International, which created the Sasai App – a new global mobile payment and chat platform – announced plans to launch the new remittance service, which will cut the cost of sending money to African countries by as over 80%. Cassava Fintech is a wholly owned subsidiary of Masiyiwa’s Econet Group.
The remittance service is set to start a month-free trial in Zimbabwe, starting on September 1, 2019, and will offer remittances from anyone in the world to a mobile money wallet for just 2.5%, down from the 7 to 15% charged by most international remittance companies.
On his blog, Masiyiwa says his mantra is: “If you want to be successful, identify a human need, and reach out to solve it in a sustainable way.”
One hopes Sasai will go a long way towards solving a big problem of high remittance costs for Africans and Zimbabweans in the Diaspora – such as Masiyiwa’s housekeeper – and at the same time benefit their families back home, and increase forex inflows into African economies for a long time to come.