Following the collapse of the Kwacha, which has now been described as ‘junk’ by International monetary agencies, Western Union is failing to pay out customers in Zambia. The International Financial institution has run out of Zambian Kwacha. Hundreds of Zambians who have been sent money by their friends and relatives from outside the country today failed to collect the cash. For the first time, long queues formed in most Western Union branches in Lusaka and other parts of the country.
A number of people talked to explained that they had been trying to access their money from morning and moved from one Western Union branch to the other but they were told that there was no money, and told to try later or the other branch. By close of business, hundreds had failed to collect their money and will try tomorrow.
Given its efficiency and end user friendliness whereby the recipient in Zambian can receive money from anywhere in the world within a few minutes, Western Union has become the number one mode of receiving money in Zambia.
But the past two weeks have left Western Union overstretched to the point of failing to pay out clients.
It seems a lot of Zambians living outside the country, so called Diaspora, are taking advantage of the rotten Kwacha to send money to their relatives and friends.
$100, which normally converts to about K670 now fetches more than K1, 400. A British Pound, which at normal rates gives the recipient in Zambia about K830 now translates into K1, 900.