This report is based on a study commissioned by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). It describes the constraints and the opportunities for remittance service providers to reach forcibly displaced people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, or DRC. The survey team, led by Digital Disruptions and their local partner, Target, interviewed 656 households across four provinces, exploring remittance usage by people based in refugee camps and the host communities and rural areas around them. Interviews were also conducted in the DRC with representatives from financial institutions, mobile operators, regulators, and development agencies.
After providing an overview of the current state of practice for in-bound and out-bound remittances—informal channels remain the overwhelmingly dominant mode—the report provides details for the supply side, the demand side, and the policy and regulatory environment, particularly about their respective barriers. The report concludes with recommended specific steps that policymakers can take to spur providers to offer remittance services to this population, and that providers can take to spur prospective customers to shift from informal to formal channels.
Along with its own 5 million internally displaced people—the largest such situation in Africa and ten percent of the global total—the DRC also hosts more than half a million refugees from neighboring countries. Delivering safe, affordable, and effective remittances services to this population is not only an urgent priority in its own right, it will also provide valuable learnings for the broader global effort to optimize remittances.