By Ndakaziva Majaka
Zimbabwe is targeting $2 billion in Diaspora remittances into the national payment system by year end according to the central bank Diaspora remittances subsidiary, Homelink (Pvt) Ltd (Homelink) board chairman, Morris Mpofu.
Speaking at a Homelink strategic business unit (SBU) housing project launch in the capital yesterday, Mpofu said of this amount only $1 billion was expected to go through the formal channels.
“Diaspora remittances surged by 200 percent from 2009-2014 amounting to $3,5 billion. This year we are targeting $1 billion through the formal channels while another $1 billion will get into the country through informal channels,” said Mpofu.
He added that Homelink SBU, Proplink, was going to tap into the other $1 billion expected in the informal channels helping Zimbabweans outside the country invest into Prolink’s housing projects — like the one that was being launched in Tynwald in which 100 housing units are set to be built with 80 housing stands slated for servicing.
Zimbabwe received $409,5 million from the Diaspora in the first half of the year compared to $397,8 million the previous year as confidence in formal money transfer channels grows, according to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s Mid-term Fiscal Policy Review.
Africa as a whole receives about $64 billion in remittances from its 30 million Diaspora population.
Remittances from millions of non-resident Zimbabweans are a significant contributor to the country’s economy, reaching $840 million in 2014 (about six percent of GPD and 23 percent of export earnings), up from $790 million the previous year.
According to central bank governor, John Mangudya, 25 percent of exports and foreign exchange in the country happen through the Diaspora.
According to the central bank, Zimbabwe gets as much as $1,2 billion in annual Diaspora remittances, with only a fraction of that going through formal channels.
In a bid to draw the remittances into the formal banking system, the central bank last month licensed 27 money transfer operators.
Proplink was created after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) unbundled Homelink into four strategic business units (SBUs).
The four SBUs are Proplink, Easylink, Masterlink and Investlink.
According to Mangudya, Proplink will be focused on industrial, commercial and residential development for the Diaspora.
“The company will also develop shopping malls, factories, office complexes, schools, hospitals and resort facilities.
“The development of these facilities will be financed through Diaspora Property Development Bonds with subscribers in the Diaspora having the option for equity participation,” he said in his Mid-Term Monetary Policy Statement, adding that this unit also constructs low-cost houses and offers stands and mortgage loans to Diasporans.
He also revealed that currently, construction of 180 residential properties in Harare was already underway in Tynwald and Mabelreign and projects for Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo, Norton and Kadoma are in the pipeline.
Proplink will also offer medical and funeral assurance, property insurance and real estate management for the Diaspora and their relatives in Zimbabwe. Daily News