Ismail Ahmed, United States   20 April 2018

Founder & CEO Ismail Ahmed in Somaliland

Founder & CEO Ismail Ahmed in Somaliland

I am an immigrant. It’s something I’m proud of. I left Somaliland to study abroad during the war that destroyed my hometown, Hargeisa. It was the first step in building a future for myself and my family – and a business that supports hundreds of millions of migrants around the world. My story is far from unique and certainly not a new one.

Like many other immigrants, I am also an entrepreneur. I believe that it’s no coincidence that states like New York, where almost 1 in 4 people are migrants are also hubs of creativity and innovation. Migration and the convergence of people from different cultures and perspectives fuels creativity and innovation benefitting not only the countries that migrants move to, but also the wider world.

There has been much discussion of the contribution immigrants make to the United States, yet the impact of their hard work stretches far beyond the borders of the US. Just as Immigrant Heritage Month was beginning in the US, we secured our last remaining state license meaning customers can now send from every single state. So it seems right to mark this by celebrating the contribution that immigrants make to both the United States and the communities they have left behind. By shining a spotlight on the tales of just a handful of New Yorkers who are using their skills to help others, we hope that their words will speak for the millions of others across the States who are making a difference in the US and abroad.

The World Bank estimates that over $66 billion is sent out of the US in remittances - and, as much of this is untracked, the real figure is likely to be much higher. To put this in perspective, US official development assistance is half this sum. Money sent as rem ittances passes directly into the hands of loved ones abroad supporting education, healthcare, paying rent and bills and even helping to support family or friends in starting their own businesses.

Yet the high cost of sending money abroad is stifling the potential impact of these funds. Reducing the cost would help the money sent to go so much further. Costs vary dramatically depending how you send and where to, but on average it costs around $11 to send $200 from the United States. Most people are sending through traditional channels going to an agent, queuing up and sending the money knowing their family and friends will do the same at the other end. They are losing not just the money they pay to send money, but also the money it costs to travel to an agent and the money they lose in taking time off work to do so.

Sending money internationally is a complex business, but many of the costs incurred in the traditional approach are due to the high cost of agents and physical locations. By innovating and looking for creative solutions we have been able to deliver a better way to send money. We removed these costs by enabling people to send money with WorldRemit directly from an app on your phone or online, so there’s no need to go and queue and no need to stop what you’re doing. Our analysts calculated that our customers in the United States saved over $100 a year by sending with WorldRemit rather than traditional agents like Western Union, but it’s not just money that we can save.. its time. And when you’re juggling your studies, doing several jobs to send money home, you know just how precious that commodity is!

We partner with a vast network of cash pickup, mobile money and other payout services around the world and we process around 3 in 4 remittances sent to mobile money accounts so your loved ones can easily access money when they need it. I’m proud that our customers tell us, it makes sending money simple and easy.

WorldRemit bus advertising in New York

WorldRemit bus advertising in New York

WorldRemit MTA advertising

WorldRemit MTA advertising 

I have worked in remittances all my life, I have been a sender and a recipient and I know what a lifeline these funds represent for so many. So our agents are on hand 24/7 to help with questions to make sure money gets through safely and quickly and that’s what keeps our 2 million customers coming back to us.

5-Star Testimonials

5-Star Testimonials

We work hard to make the process easy so our customers can focus on pursuing their goals because when they do, they make the world a richer place for everyone.

That’s why I work and that’s #WhyWeWork.

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