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Things appear to be gradually shaping up in Afghanistan as Western Union and MoneyGram have announced that they would resume money transfer services to Afghanistan, allowing vital remittances into a country that faces huge economic hurdles following the Taliban’s takeover last month.
Speaking to reporters yesterday, a spokesperson stated that; ‘Western Union is pleased to share that it is resuming its money transfer services into Afghanistan, starting September 2, so that our customers can once again send money and support their loved ones at this time’.
‘We understand the urgent needs of our customers and their families and are committed to supporting them,‘ the spokesperson said, adding that Western Union would waive transfer fees from September 3 through 17.
Africa Daily News, New York gathered that the service offers payments in Afghanistan in both afghanis and United States dollars via seven banks, according to the spokesperson, and transfers were actually suspended ‘because the banking network was closed, essentially, and there were obviously liquidity issues.’
‘But we now have had assurances from our banking partners that a number of branches have been open in recent days and more and more opening each day, and also that we’ve had assurances that they have good liquidity,‘ the spokesperson added.
MoneyGram in a statement disclosed that they would resume service as of Thursday, following ‘guidance received from the US government’ and ‘in coordination with our partners in the country as well as the Afghanistan Banks Association.’
‘The decision to suspend our services was not made lightly, and we are thankful to be able to reopen our business in the country to help support the people of Afghanistan,’ the statement said.
Remittances from Afghans living abroad are crucial for the impoverished country’s economy and amounted to almost $789 million in 2020, according to the World Bank — some four percent of Afghanistan’s estimated $19.8 billion GDP that year.
The Taliban Islamist militants, who have pledged a softer brand of rule than during their brutal reign of 1996-2001, are expected to soon form a new government.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK