Global remittance flow crosses $406 billion
India tops the list of remittance recipients with $70 billion
Remittance flows to the developing world are expected to exceed earlier estimates and total $406 billion (Dh1.49 trillion) this year, an increase of 6.5 per cent over the previous year, the World Bank said in its latest report, released on Wednesday. “Remittances to developing countries are projected to grow by 7.9 per cent in 2013, 10.1 per cent in 2014 and 10.7 per cent in 2015 to reach $534 billion in 2015,” the report, Migration and Development Brief, says.
When high-income countries are included, worldwide remittances are expected to total $534 billion in 2012, and projected to grow to $685 billion in 2015, it said.
India topped the list of the world’s biggest remittance recipient countries with $70 billion, followed by China with $66 billion, the Philippines and Mexico $24 billion each, and Nigeria $21 billion. Other large recipients include Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Lebanon.
“However, despite the growth in remittance flows overall to developing countries, the continuing global economic crisis is dampening remittance flows to some regions, with Europe and Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa especially affected, while South Asia and the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) are expected to fare much better than previously estimated,” it said.
More than 215 million people, or 3 per cent of the world’s population, live outside their countries of birth while over 700 million migrate within their countries for socio-political and economic reasons. Remittances, the money sent home by migrants, are three times the size of official development assistance and they provide an important lifeline for millions of poor households. Remittances to developing countries are estimated to reach $372 billion in 2011.
“Although migrant workers are, to a large extent, adversely affected by the slow growth in the global economy, remittance volumes have remained remarkably resilient, providing a vital lifeline to not only poor families but a steady and reliable source of foreign currency in many poor remittances recipient countries,” said Hans Timmer, Director of the Bank’s Development Prospects Group.
Regions and countries with large numbers of migrants in oil exporting countries continue to see robust growth in inward remittance flows, compared with those whose migrant workers are largely concentrated in the advanced economies, especially Western Europe.
Thus South Asia, Mena and East Asia and Pacific regions, with large numbers of workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, are seeing better-than-expected growth in remittances. For South Asia, remittances in 2012 are expected to total $109 billion, an increase of 12.5 per cent over 2011; the East Asia and Pacific region is estimated to attract $114 billion, an increase of 7.2 per cent over 2011; while Mena is expected to receive $47 billion, an increase of 8.4 per cent over the previous year.
Remittances help developing countries to boost up foreign exchange reserves that help them meet their balance of payment requirements especially when exports fall.
Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean are supported by a recovering economy and an improving labour market in the United States.