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Mobile money transfers give refugees in Cameroon choices of products

Mobile money transfers give refugees in Cameroon choices of products

Cameroon

Abdoulaye Amina lives in Timangolo, a Cameroonian village located about 35 kilometers from the border with Central African Republic (CAR).

She is a refugee from CAR and is one of over 270,000 others who fled unrest, violence and civil war since the early 2000s.

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) launched Cash Based Transfer (CBT) in Cameroon last year to target beneficiaries, including refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR).

We also help them order food, choose food. Then, we calculate the amount of the order and we transfer the money to the seller's account.

The CBT programmes provide beneficiaries with the opportunity of choice to select the food they need, while also boosting the local market economy which profits the wider community.

“I’m happy because I can now eat what I like and not what they give me. With the money in my telephone, I can buy spaghetti, milk, sardines. It’s a good thing. I can even buy meat,“Amina said.

It is not only a means of providing food for the family, but also an opportunity to engage in income generating activities.

“We also help them order food, choose food. Then, we calculate the amount of the order and we transfer the money to the seller’s account,“Nancy Aba’a is a field agent at WFP said.

Each household receives a mobile phone and a SIM card from the agency giving them access to an electronic portfolio that gets topped up with monthly allowances to buy foodstuffs from selected retailers.

The size of the family, determines the amount of money they get. Refugees can spend the money all at once or shop over time.

“I’m happy with the programme here. They gave people phones. Every month WFP transfers money and beneficiaries come and buy food from my shop. We are all happy,” said Abdouraman Sali, a groceries trader.

About 80,000 Central Africans have already been registered on the cash based transfer system.

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