Article By Steven Anderson
Expatriates, or expats, are part of just about every country’s makeup. Those citizens who go to other countries in search of paying work to send back cash to their family back home—or just to find a particular kind of work they find fulfilling—can be a major part of a country’s economy. Pakistanis often go abroad to find work, and Malaysia is one major stop for the Pakistani expat. Now, a new effort from Telenor Microfinance Bank and Alipay is giving these workers an easier way to route cash back home using blockchain technology.
Using Alipay’s blockchain technology, a separate effort between Telenor and its own partner Valyou could build a larger service that allowed for cross-border remittance payments. With the new system in place, remittances will be sped up and more efficiently transferred, making it both easier and safer to route cash back to expats’ homes.
It was recently revealed during an event in Islamabad, which was in turn attended by the governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Tariq Bajwa. It’s also expected to be the impetus for new levels of investment in Pakistan’s burgeoning financial technology (fintech) sector, as well as driving new access to financial services.
Bajwa noted “This puts Pakistan on the map of very few countries in the world that have launched International Remittance using blockchain technology. At around USD 20 billion per year, international remittances are important from the perspective of overall macroeconomic stability and their positive spillover in improving lives of millions of families. Home remittances contributed to over six percent in GDP, equivalent to over 50 percent of our trade deficit, 85 percent of exports and over one-third of imports during FY 2017-18.”
Making a secure means to transmit cash from one country to another is a vital part of operations for many countries. Though it might be a surprise to see Pakistan gaining ground in the fintech sector, it’s actually a reasonable response to a country-wide issue. Now, Pakistanis going abroad for work will have a simpler, safer way to route cash back from Malaysia, which should in turn make Malaysia a more likely stop for Pakistanis seeking employment.
Not that Malaysia wasn’t already a major stop, but with this, it’s just improved its chances of selection handily.