MEDIA ADVISORY: AAI Speaker Series Panel Discussion to Explore the Potential of Remittances in Promoting Economic Growth in Africa

May 20, 2014

NEW YORK, May 20, 2014– Remittances from the African diaspora have buoyed households in African countries for decades, often paying for housing, school fees, hospital bills and other life necessities for families and communities. In 2012, Africans in the Diaspora worldwide sent home to their relatives nearly $60 billion in remittances, exceeding official development assistance to Africa.

The Africa-America Institute’s next Speaker Series panel discussion will delve into whether remittance flows can boost economic growth and prosperity on the African continent. The panel discussion, “Can Remittances from the African Diaspora Promote Economic Growth in Africa?”, will be held on June 5 from 6:30-8:30PM, at TKP New York Conference Center, 109 West 39th Street in New York City. Doors open at 6:00PM.

The Africa-America Institute (AAI) is a U.S.-based international education and policy organization dedicated to strengthening human capacity of Africans and promoting the continent’s development through higher education and skills training, convening activities, partner engagement, and research.

Top panelists from the private, public sectors and Diaspora community will offer insight into how to maximize and sustain the economic development potential of remittances in sub-Saharan Africa, and will grapple with whether Diaspora contributions can be channeled for sustainable development.

Solome Lemma, Co-Founder and Director, Africans in the Diaspora, will moderate the panel discussion. Panelists include: Linus Adaba, Group  Remittance & Diaspora Manager at Ecobank Transnational Incorporated; Isseu Diouf Campbell, Photojournalist and Founder of Afrikanspot.com; Dr. Rose Ngugi, Advisor, Office of the Executive Director, Africa Group at International Monetary Fund; Dr. Sonia Plaza, Senior Economist, Migration and Remittances Team at The World Bank; and Teddy Ruge, Chief Marketing Officer, Redcore Money Transfer and Founder of Remit.ug.

The World Bank cited that Africans in the Diaspora pay more to send money to their home countries than other diaspora groups worldwide, in some cases twice the global average. The panel discussion will highlight innovations in mobile money transfers, and weigh in on what actions African governments and private organizations can take to drive down the cost of money transfer fees and reduce regulatory impediments to increase competition.

“Remittances have become the sustaining force for many African households and communities,” said Amini Kajunju, AAI President and CEO. “Panelists for our next Speaker Series panel discussion on remittances will explore the power and potential of remittances in improving communities and national economies, creating jobs, and fostering innovation in Africa.”

Remittance flows into African countries have continued to grow, and in Sub-Saharan Africa has increased by 3.5 percent in 2013 to reach $32 billion, according to official reports. This trend and the impact of these flows on the well-being of recipient households and their communities are attracting increasing attention from a myriad of global financial institutions.

“With increasing remittance inflows into sub-Saharan Africa, corresponding with the increase in well-to-do Africans in the diaspora, Ecobank is properly positioned in 35 Sub-Saharan Africa countries and it’s over 1250 locations for users to take advantage of our product and services,” said Linus Adaba, Group Remittance & Diaspora Manager. Ecobank is the Exclusive Presenting Sponsor of the panel discussion.

“To facilitate these flows, Ecobank, , is in strategic partnerships with most of the key Global Money Transfer Companies, driving convenience and trust for the funds of recipient,” said Adaba. He added that to further meet the convenience needs of users, Ecobank is investing in making remittance services available via electronic channels to  facilitate 24/7 service availability across the Ecobank network.

RSVP: **Media accreditation is required to cover the Speaker Series panel discussion. To RSVP and if your media outlet is interested in becoming a Media Partner, please contact Shanta Bryant Gyan at shanta@sbgcommunications.com or call (646) 290-8211.

For more information, please visit the Remittances panel discussion event page.

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ABOUT AAI:             Founded in 1953, the Africa-America Institute (AAI) is a is a U.S.-based international education and policy organization dedicated to strengthening human capacity of Africans and promoting the continent’s development through higher education and skills training, convening activities, partner engagement, and research. For more information, please visit http://aai1.wpengine.com

ABOUT ECOBANK: Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has a presence in 35 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group is also represented in France through its affiliate EBI SA in Paris. ETI also has representative offices in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, London, UK and Beijing, China. ETI is listed on the stock exchanges in Lagos, Accra, and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) – the BRVM. The Group has more than 600,000 local and international institutional and individual shareholders. The Group employs 19,200 people from 40 different countries in 1,250 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals. Additional information may be found at: www.ecobank.com.

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