Western Union hits 20,000 agent locations


By Agency Reporter   Thursday, 23 Sep 2010


The Western Union Company, a leader in global payment services has announced that its coverage in Africa now exceeds 20,000 agent locations across 49 countries.


This landmark further consolidates its position as the continent’s largest financial services network, according to a statement on Wednesday.


Western Union first inaugurated its services on the continent in 1995 in Ghana.


Within the first year, it had extended its services to 10 countries. More recently, a 25 per cent expansion rate over the second quarter of 2009 has seen the network grow from 15,000 to 20,000 agent locations in the space of 12 months.


Since its inception, network growth has been driven by a focus on consolidating relationships with existing agents, extending Pan-African group level agreements, as well as introducing innovative, reliable services that meet the particular needs of customers sending and receiving money on the continent.


In particular, Western Union has introduced innovative methods for money transfer, such as mobile money transfers in Kenya and South Africa.


According to a 2009 report published by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, remittance flows to Africa reach approximately $40bn every year. This figure exceeds official development assistance and, in the case of many countries, foreign direct investment as well.


Western Union Senior Vice-President for Africa, Mr. Khalid Fellahi, said, “Whilst this milestone is a great achievement and one which reflects the ongoing global demand for Western Union services, we recognise that a large number of Africans still remain without access to financial services. In particular, there is a real opportunity to empower more people by offering money transfer services through different classes of trade such as retailers and microfinance institutions.”


Recent additions to the agent network include United Bank for Africa across six countries and the addition of four new agents in Ethiopia.


Source: Punch



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