Vancouver Ethiopian Blog

Ethiopian life in Vancouver, BC, Canada

Sending Money to Ethiopia

Sending money oversees is way to complicated! But, does it have to be? If you are sending money, for instance, to Europe from Canada or US, then you have many choices:

  • Money Orders – via banks, post office, etc.
  • Cash Transfers – via agents like Western Union, etc.
  • Bank Transfers – via banks in wires, cheques, drafts, etc.

These services are very expensive both to the sender and recipient. The sender pays outrageous service fees and the recipient also gets dinged service fees in addition to lower exchange rates.

Photo: 1985 Ethiopian Gold Coin – showing a value of $400 Birr – worth a lot more at the present!

But, if you are sending money to Ethiopia, your options are limited. Most people in North America send money to Ethiopia using local licensed agencies rather than big corporations. These local agencies are mostly run by other fellow Ethiopians.

The service fees by the corporations are way to high, and also small local agencies give you the best exchange rates.

Official Exchange Rates
As of today April 1, 2010, the Ethiopian government set exchange rate of Birr to the US dollar is, $1 USD = 13.57 Birr. Some economists are projecting that the exchange rate to eventually be 2o to 22 Birr to one US dollar. I think the exchange rates are kept low purposely so that imports don’t become too expensive.

My guess is that, the current exchange rate won’t stay for too long at these levels. The government will continue to devalue the Birr. Looking at historical data, just 2 years ago, the official exchange rate was around Birr 9.10, currently 13.57, that is a devaluation of almost 33%.

Why Send Money to Ethiopia?
Life has become very expensive for millions of people in Ethiopia. So, sending money to help your loved one is absolutely necessary. So, what is the best way to send money to Ethiopia?

How Do I Send Money from Canada?
If you are in the US, you can choose from many of the licensed brokers; but if you are in the Vancouver area, you don’t have much choice. There is only one broker in town and her website is found here:

I have used Liyu’s service and I must say that it is a great professional service with so little service fees. The money I sent was received in a couple of days in cash at the rate I was given.  There was no service fee to the recipient. The recipient did not need a bank account. The recipient needed to show a photo ID and answer the secret question in Ethiopia. The answer code number was given to me at the time I made the payment. I subsequently passed that code to my relative in Addis.

According to her website, Liyu says that her services stand out because of the following reasons:

  • Send money from anywhere in Canada
  • Funds delivered as cash to your loved ones in Ethiopia
  • Fast service, with in 2 to 3 business days
  • Secure and reliable
  • Low service fees
  • Best exchange rates
  • Available 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Transaction tracking and confirmation upon request
  • No bank account needed by the recipient
  • No service fees payable by the recipient

Alternate Ways to Send Money to Ethiopia
If you know anyone who is running a business in Ethiopia, and that person has a foreign bank account, say, in Dubai or China, then you can make the arrangement with this business person. You can wire the money to their foreign account and your relatives will get the money in cash in Ethiopia. The challenge is finding such a business person whom you can trust with your money.

Generally, you need to check the following points when selecting the agent to send money:

  • Speed – how soon will the person get the money
  • Exchange rate – what is the rate given to me
  • Reliability – is this agent reliable
  • Service charges – is the service charge fair?
  • Website – does the agent have a website? Shows that the agent has taken the business seriously and is not doing business under the table.

Aren’t we glad that we have a reliable, fast and low fee service right here in town? I highly recommend Liyu’s service. Keep it up Liyu and thank you for the great service.


My next blog entry will be on Thursday April 08, 2010.
Mullkam Samint!

April 1, 2010 - Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Food, Ethiopian History, Ethiopian Holidays, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Patriotism, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Religions, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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