Strategies adopted by Dahabshiil Kenya to gain competitive advantage in money remittance services
Money sent home by migrants constitutes the second largest financial inflow to developing countries, exceeding international aid. Those receiving remittances often experience an improvement in their economic standing, whether they are family, friends or the wider community. Remittances can also promote access to financial services for the sender and recipient. Kenya is making headlines and emerging as a globally recognized leader in financial inclusion. The envisaged targets of the financial sector under Kenya Vision 2030 include enhancing financial inclusion by decreasing the share of population without access to financial services by about 20%. 75.3% of Kenyans are now formally included up from 66.8% in 2013 while 17.4% are financially excluded. Although only 5% of Kenyans send or receive remittances internationally, 42.6% among them used international money transfer while 49.4% used mobile financial services for international remittances. As a result it has been found to enhance the economic growth in the country. Diaspora remittances have become a critical part of the Kenyan economy as the largest earner of foreign exchange. Kenya was among the highest recipients of remittances in 2015 with $1.6 billion (Sh163 billion) in remitted from diaspora which was a 16.5% increase from 2014’s Sh139 billion ($1.5 billion). This has attracted a large number of firms in addition to the traditional remittance players like Western Union and MoneyGram which have had strong presence in Kenya. Forex bureaus grew their collective profits rapidly in 2014 to Sh357 million compared to Sh27.5 million in 2012 partly due to adoption of agency banking even as players in the industry complained of increased competition forcing thinner revenue margins. Additionally, 11 bureaus closed shop in 2014 leaving 101 outlets. This shows that the sector within which Dahabshiil operates is highly competitive in the Kenyan context. However, despite this tough competition in money remittance and Forex services, Dahabshiil has managed to weather the storm and become one of the largest international money remittance firm within the country despite having only 5 branches and 30 agents spread across the country. This study therefore sought to explore the strategies adopted by the Dahabshiil Money Remittance Company in its bid to secure a competitive advantage in the competitive Kenya financial services industry. This study adopted a case study approach and was carried out in Dahabshiil branches in Nairobi. Data was gathered through Key Informant Interviews administered to five senior management staff who were purposively sampled. Quantitative data was analysed using SPSS version 21 which involved summarizing using frequencies and percentages with results using tables, charts and graphs. Qualitative data was analysed via content and thematic analysis where emerging themes were coded and results presented as verbatim. The findings indicated that Dahabshiil offered quality and distinctive service at lower prices. The firm also sought to serve a market mainly composed of migrants that has been ignored by the mainstream RSPs in international money transfer. The study recommends that Dahabshiil needs to be more upbeat on use of technology to integrate its product to mobile money transfer and also serve as an avenue for customer engagement and feedback especially among the tech-savvy younger generation. Dahabshiil should also establish strategic alliances with other RSPs, especially local banks and mobile money transfer agents so as to leverage on their already existing infrastructure at lower costs.