I have been trying to send money to the Ivory Coast from my bank account which is a lot cheaper than using services such as Western Union, but has the side effects of (a) people thinking that I have fallen victim of some internet scam and (b) creating visible stress among bank staff having absolutely no idea of whether it is possible to transfer funds to the Ivory Coast or not.
Today I recieved this email from the online banking support of my bank:
Apologies for the delay in coming back to you on your query. I have investigated this with our International Payments area and have been advised that currently there are EU and US sanction in place against Ivory Coast. Until such time as these sanctions are relaxed there will be no option to make a payment to this country using Internet Banking.
However, this payment can be made from your Branch. I understand that you have received incorrect information from your branch regarding this and I apologise for any inconvenience caused.
Ok, so online transfers to the Ivory Coast are not possible, but in person transfers are. Sounds like weird sanctions at first sight, but what it does, is to make anonymous transfers more difficult which might make sense. I reckon they want to stop arms purchases for instance, and I guess it’s good to know that the person who actually made the transfer is also the owner of the account.