African Remittances Reach Billions

July 12, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. quarter (n.) [kwawr-ter]  – the fourth equal part of something
Example: A quarter of an hour is fifteen minutes.

2. remittance (n.)  [ri-mit-ns] – a sum of money sent to a person from another place
Example: My mother always sends me remittance from abroad for my school allowance.
3. migrant (n.)  [mahy-gruhnt]  – a person who comes to a country where they were not born in order to settle and live there
Example: Many of the early migrants to the US came from Europe.

4. prop up (idiom) [prop] [uhp] – to provide support or assistance for someone or something that would otherwise fail
Example: Foreign aid tends to prop up the poor economy of countries torn by war.

5. courier (n.) [kur-ee-er, koor-] – a messenger or a company that transports commercial packages, documents and money
Example: I sent a box full of goods back home using a trusted courier.

Read the text below.

Africans working abroad send home a quarter of their earnings to support their families and help them survive.

One of them is Zimbabwean Ebsalom Matapo who works in England as a rehabilitation officer for drug users and former criminals. While away, he makes sure that he sends money to his relatives, no matter how hard.

Ebsalom's family relies heavily on his remittances. They only get water from a well and grow crops to survive. Without his help, they will surely find it hard to live.

According to World Bank's lead economist Dilip Ratha, thirty million African migrants send home $40 billion a year. This helps prop up the region's economy, making remittances the highest source of investment money coming from foreign countries. Remittances help reduce poverty and improve education in the region.

However, sending money back home is never easy. Couriers charge as much as 25% in order to transfer money to African countries. This makes it harder for migrants and their families.

Nevertheless, African migrants try to keep up with the fees. They have no other choice but to pay high rates in order to give their families a chance to survive.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

·         Do you think a single person’s wage is enough to support a family?
·         What will happen if many relatives rely on only one person to make a living?

Discussion B

·         Do you believe in giving money to help other people or do you think people should support their own selves? Why?
·         In what ways can you help without giving money?

July 12, 2011