Follow the Money

Presenter: Alkarim Jivani
BBC Radio 4 – September 2008

Producer: Anne-Marie Cole
Researcher: Catriona Oliphant
Executive Producer: Ian Willox

Radio choices: The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian

In the UK, money transfer shops are doing a roaring trade.  Alkarim Jivani investigates the economics and the human stories behind the global money flows.

Money transfer is big business today, and speaks volumes about migration, inner city culture and the ebb and flow of cash across continents.  Alkarim Jivani investigates how the system operates, why business is booming, and how, in the near future, mobile telephony and the internet could transform the industry and increase the already substantial sums moving around the world (the World Bank puts the global remittance market at US$268 billion.

We find out why people send money home and how crucial their remittances are to the lives of the recipients and the countries that they live in.  According to a recent report to the UK Remittances Task Force, the UK remittance market is estimated to amount to some £3 billion of outbound payments per year.  These payments pass through a network of thousands of money transfer operators.  Who runs these businesses, who uses them and what happens to the money?  How great is the risk of money laundering and what safeguards have been put in place to protect against it?

Alkarim Jivani (Presenter): a senior editor at Time Out Magazine until July 2007, Alkarim is a frequent contributor to Front Row and Night Waves and was a regular on Newsnight Review.  He is the author of two books: It’s Not Unusual: A History of Gay Men and Lesbians in the Twentieth Century and Classic TV.  He has appeared on numerous television documentaries analysing subjects as diverse as pop music and period drama.  He has chaired workshops and discussion panels at BAFTA, the NFT and the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

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