As part of our ‘Researching Africa in the 21st Century’ course, we – master’s students ‘African Studies’ at Leiden University – were all asked to work on a collaborative project that would incorporate multimodal and mixed-method field research about African societies in The Netherlands – The Hague in particular.
Sandra Bleeker, Mira Demirdirek and I decided to work together on a research project on the social significance of remittances being received from and sent to the African diaspora in The Netherlands.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the developmental potential of (international) money transfers by policy makers as well as academics. However, the phenomenon of remittances is usually being researched from an economic or political standpoint. We decided to approach it from a slightly different angle and look into the social aspect of remittances instead, by organising several interviews, conducting a questionnaire and creating an interactive map to give people an insight into where all the different money agents in The Hague are located.
Through a mutual friend, Mira got in touch with Abiola Elizabeth Adegoke, a Nigerian woman residing in The Hague, who was more than willing to tell us all about her own personal experiences with receiving and sending remittances from and to Nigeria. She is a graduate student at Webster University Leiden, obtaining her master’s degree in International Relations, and works as a volunteer for Rise and Lead Women, an empowerment organisation for women.
Abiola told us all about why she prefers Western Union as her go-to money transaction service, what its upsides and downsides are, how the process of receiving money through money agents works exactly, the fees that need to be paid when using Western Union, the purposes of the transactions, the interconnectivity between her and Nigeria through these transactions, if she feels as if her Nigerian passport is treated with more caution whenever she makes use of money agents, and a range of other topics.
She made some interesting points, such as the fact that Western Union has gained its respect as a money transfer service throughout the years due to its reliable reputation, the fact that she doesn’t necessarily feel as if international money transfers have improved the interconnectivity between her and Nigeria because social media have already fulfilled that role, and the fact that she strongly prefers bank transfers over receiving money through a money agent, as she is less likely to spend it as quickly.
The interview was prepared by Mira and Charlotte, conducted by Mira and then edited by Charlotte. We hope you’ll enjoy.
And an overview of all of our related posts:
1) Money Transfer Services in The Hague: An overview
2) Money Transfer Services in The Hague: Mapping the money transfer services
3) Money Transfer Services in The Hague: Paul on the social impact of money transfers
4) Money Transfer Services in The Hague: Insights from an online survey