May 2017 saw operators in the Cameroon remittance sector reviewing as well as strengthening their operation strategies in order to either regain or maintain their leading market positions. To be specific, we saw players signing partnerships to gain more market coverage (MTN Cameroon & Societe Generale Cameroun, Express Exchange & the University of Bamenda), some launching new services (MTN Mobile Money withdrawals at Societe Generale ATMs) to boost consumer satisfaction and experience, another expanding its network with new branches (Express Exchange opened 9 new POS), some other deploying a diversified service (Payment of registration fees into the Cameroon Police Academy via EU Registration) while another reactivated a key service which was suspended (WU outbound services reactivated at Emi Money and Societe Generale Cameroun locations).

For about a year now, a number of international operators including: Western Union, Sigue, Money Express, Ria, Small World, MoneyGram, etc. had their outbound remittances (transfers from Cameroon to external corridors) suspended at the locations of their agents and sub-agents. Sources from some of the agents complained that the regulation imposed 33.33% as tax for each external transaction whereas they received just 20% as compensation from their international remittance partners. The suspension of these services dealt a huge blow to the operators and the customers as only receiving transactions were available.

The Ministry of Finance has issued a communique banning the illegal manual exchange of money. As a result, individuals and operators involved in this illegal money exchange operations run the risk of being sanctioned by provisions provided in the Law in force (No. 02/CEMAC/UMAC/CM of 29 April 2000). In order to ensure that the general public exchange money at the right locations, MINFI published a list of 25 authorized manual money exchange institutions in Cameroon.

Mobile money is one of the ground-breaking innovations in the Cameroon finance sector, in general, and remittance, in particular. Its introduction in 2008, by Express Union, was to provide instant remittance services. Later in 2010 and 2011, the Telco operators (MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroun) joined the train and introduced diversified services including the payment of bills and airtime purchase.

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