Wednesday, 23 November 2011

LEBANON: Connecting Lebanese diaspora with development

BEIRUT: With a diaspora community of millions, and one of the highest remittances rates in the world, Lebanon maintains strong ties to its expats.

Launched in November 2009, Live Lebanon, a one-of-its-kind U.N. Development Program project, has sought to make the most of these links, channeling money from abroad to help development projects in Lebanon.
Fadi Salameh is the Institutional Goodwill Ambassador for UNDP Live Lebanon, representing the project and coordinating with the other ambassadors around the globe, each of whom is responsible for raising funds within their particular community, whether Australia or Brazil, among others.

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PHILIPPINES: The 50-Million O.F.W. Community

MANILA, Philippines — The latest report on remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) reflects one of the strongest fundamentals of the Philippine economy, especially amid the global crisis, which has largely been responsible for the double-digit fall in export earnings.
The OFWs' remittances, according to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), increased by 8.4 percent in September 2011 to $1.74 billion from $1.6 billion in the same month last year on continued strong demand for Filipino workers in various countries. Read more

Nigerians in UK move to boost FDI, remittance

By Clifford Ndujihe
TO improve Foreign Direct Investments, FDI, and remittances from United Kingdom, UK, Nigerian professionals in UK will host a seminar on December 1 to showcase the avalanche of business and investment opportunities in the country.
The seminar, with the theme, Delivering Projects in Complex Environments, is being organised by Nigerian Association of Project Professionals United Kingdom, NAPPUK, in London.
Currently, there are about 150,000 Nigerians in UK. Estimated remittances from Nigerians in the Diaspora stand at $20 billion with the United States accounting for the largest portion of official remittances followed by the UK.
Relatedly, estimated net flow of FDI is about $8 billion. Read more

Saturday, 5 November 2011

PHILIPPINES: Weak options to protect overseas Filipino workers

Government authorities have played down  the negative effect of the ban on the deployment of Filipino workers in 41 countries, saying the  impact “is not going to be very big,” as these countries did not receive too many OFWs.
The Department of Labor and Employment announced on Wednesday that it had issued the ban because these blacklisted countries failed to sign international conventions protecting foreign workers from abuse. Specifically, the DOLE board resolution posted on its website said none of these countries had signed agreements with the Philippines “on the protection of the rights of overseas Filipino workers.”

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Do Remittances Reduce Aid Dependency? IMF, October 2011

Summary: Aid has been for decades an important source of financing for developing countries, but more recently remittance flows have increased rapidly and are beginning to dwarf aid flows. This paper investigates how remittances affect aid flows, and how this relationship varies depending on the channel of transmission from remittances to aid. Buoyant remittances could reduce aid needs when human capital improves and private investment takes off. Absent these, aid flows could still drop as remittances may dampen donors’ incentive to scale up aid. Concurrently, remittances could be positively associated with aid if migrants can influence aid policy in donor countries. Using an instrumental variable approach with panel data for a sample of developing countries from 1975–2005, the baseline results show that remittances actually increase aid dependency. However, a refined model controlling for the channels of transmission from remittances to aid reveals that remittances lead to lower aid dependency when they are invested in human and physical capital rather than consumed.


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PHILIPPINES: World Bank eyes support for OFW program

World Bank Group president Robert B. Zoellick said the multilateral lender was open to providing financial support to the Philippines for an assistance program for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by unfavorable events offshore.
In a press conference Thursday, Zoellick, who was in Manila for a two-day visit, acknowledged the ill-effects of the weak economies of the United States and the eurozone on migrant workers.
Zoellick said the bank funded similar assistance programs in the past in other countries, and it was willing to do the same for the Philippines.

ETHIOPIA: Migration, Despite the Risks

In Africa, a transit centre in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital, is a temporary refuge for young men and women—many of them still boys and girls in their teens—who tried and failed to escape poverty by making a debilitating and dangerous trek by land and sea to Saudi Arabia, their vision of a land of opportunity.
Most of them in the shelter, being fed and given health care while they wait for UNICEF to reconnect them to their Ethiopian families, were found in Yemen and repatriated with the help of the IOM. They share the transit centre with Somalis who have fled their ravaged country.

RUSSIA: Beeline offers online remittances to CIS countries

Russian mobile operator Vimpelcom, working under the Beeline brand, in cooperation with the international transfers system Unistream and the payment system Ruru, is offering online remittance services to the CIS countries. The service is accessible on the Beeline.Money site and offers remittances to Ukraine, Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Kyrgyzstan. The operator plans to expand the list of countries. The maximum remittance is RUB 14,000, and the commission fee is 5.95 percent.


Australia commits to cutting remittance costs

Australia is to spend more than £2 million over the next two years to make it cheaper for migrants from developing Commonwealth countries to send money home to their friends and families.

The £2.3 million package, which was revealed on Wednesday, will be used to help boost competition in the remittance service market, and reduce the often extortionate fees which are charged for transferring money abroad.
Money will also be focused on new technologies, including mobile banking services, which will help migrants to send remittances easily and at little expense.

PHILIPPINES: Metrobank partners with Wells Fargo to provide remittance services to Filipinos

(Source: Datamonitor)trackingMetropolitan Bank & Trust Co., or Metrobank, has partnered with Wells Fargo through Uniteller Financial Services, to provide Filipinos a new way in claiming remittances from their families in the US.

According to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippines received $18.76 billion of remittances in 2010, 8.2% higher than 2009. More than 40% of these remittances came from the US. Given the statistics, this remittance alliance gives overseas Filipinos, access to over 10,000 locations where they can remit money to the Philippines.

PAKISTAN: Remittances increased due to PRI, claims govt

ISLAMABAD - Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood Khan Monday said that foreign remittances had increased due to the government’s plan “Pakistan Remittances Initiative” that provided an opportunity to the Pakistanis living abroad to send their money through regular channel.

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PHILIPPINES: PH urged to bolster ties with Saudi

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines needs to reinvigorate bilateral ties with Saudi Arabia to maintain its edge over other labor-sending countries.
“At a time when all of these reforms in Saudi Arabia are taking place, we need a more vibrant economic diplomacy to maintain our competitive advantage over other labor-sending countries,” said Susan Ople, head of the Blas F. Ople Policy Center.
Ople said the Philippine government needs to do this, following the Kingdom's new policies aimed at regulating the number of foreign workers and their remittances.

JAMAICA: BOJ Reports Increased Remittance Inflows

KINGSTON — The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ), in its latest report on remittances, said that during the month of August, total remittance inflows were US$174.6 million, an improvement of US$17.8 million or 11.4 per cent over the corresponding period last year.
Net remittances for the month, after accounting for outflows, were US$148.9 million, which represented an improvement of US$15.0 million or 11.2 per cent relative to the corresponding period of 2010.

Mexico logs biggest 12-month gain in remittances since 2006

Mexico received $2.08 billion in remittances last month, up 21.2 percent from September 2010 for the biggest 12-month increase since October 2006, the country's central bank said Tuesday.
In the first nine months of the year, remittances amounted to $17.28 billion, 6.6 percent more than during the same period in 2010.

Remittances are Mexico's No. 2 source of revenue after oil exports and constitute a lifeline for many families.

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Mexico Remittances Rise the Most in 5 Years on Cheaper Peso

Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Mexican remittances rose at the fastest pace in five years in September as immigrant workers took advantage of the peso’s decline to send more money to relatives.
Even as economic growth slowed in the U.S., money sent back to Mexico rose 21 percent to $2.08 billion in September from $1.72 billion in the same month a year earlier, the central bank said today. Remittances had not risen as rapidly since October 2006, when they shot up 24 percent, central bank data show.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Pensions, remittances to go online in Karnataka

Thanks to the state government’s IT initiative in governance, all the transactions of the state treasury department will soon go online, ending the delay in getting your pension or salary.
The treasury department on Tuesday signed an MoU with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for Khajane II project, in the presence of chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda. Read more

PHILIPPINES: August remittances surged 11% to $1.67b

Remittances from millions of Filipinos working abroad grew in August at the fastest rate in 20 months, giving the economy a needed boost in the second half after a sluggish performance in the first semester.

The Bangko Sentral said remittances in August reached $1.67 billion, up 11.1 percent from $1.503 billion year-on-year. The amount, however, was lower than $1.715 billion recorded in July.
The growth of remittances in August was the fastest rate of increase since inflows grew 11.4 percent year-on-year in December 2009. Read more

Indians send record sums home

Indians living in the Gulf have sent record sums of money home in remittances, taking advantage of the rupee's plummet against the dollar.
Measured against the Reserve Bank of India's reference rate, the rupee fell by nearly 13 per cent from 44 to the dollar on August 1to 49.7 to the dollar on September 23.
The UAE's Indian population alone yielded about US$60 million (Dh220.3m) in August and September, according to data from Indian asset management companies based in UAE. Market observers said the continuing rupee decline had created a good money-making opportunity for many. There are reports that many non-resident Indians (NRIs) have resorted even to borrowing to boost their remittances.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

BOC accounts for over 47% inward remittances

“Sri Lanka received inward remittances worth $ 4 billion last year and the country has the potential to double the value over the next few years. We now see a trend where the banking system is being used widely to remit money unlike in the past which is a positive sign towards enhancing the remittance volume,” Bank of Ceylon (BOC) Chairman Dr.Gamini Wickramasignhe said.

Dr. Gamini Wickramasignhe
The country will reach $ 4.8 billion foreign remittances by the end of this year. Bank of Ceylon has been able to account for over 47 percent of the entire inward remittances to the country, he said.

“Our target is a ten percent remittance growth from the current Rs 200 billion. If the country could harness its true potential the volume could even be higher,” he said at the launch of NRFC Wasana and Cash Remitts raffle draw 2011 and 2012 and the re-launching of the RKFC Account held on Friday in Colombo.

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Global forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) Civil Society Days 2011

Geneva, 19 September - Preparations for the GFMD Civil Society Days (CSD) (29-30 November) to be held in Geneva, Switzerland are well underway, in the countdown to the 2011 Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).  Find below some updates on important developments.

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SRI LANKA: Bank of Ceylon launches promotional campaigns targeting inward remittance stakeholders

Oct 17, Colombo: Government-owned major commercial bank in Sri Lanka, Bank of Ceylon (BOC) has launched a monthly raffle draw for the "Beneficiaries" of inward remittances.

The raffle is a part of the "Cash Remits" campaign targeting the beneficiaries of inward remittances. BOC says that the bank will conduct monthly draws and offer cash prices for the winners.

BOC has also re-launched its "NRFC Wasana" campaign targeting the remitters.
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PHILIPPINES: Remittances Increase 6.9% To $13.02 Billion In First 9 Months

MANILA, Philippines — Remittances from overseas Filipinos amounted to $13.02 billion in the first nine months of 2011, up 6.9 percent year-on-year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Monday reported.
Fund transfers through official bank channels and monitored by the BSP totaled $1.67 billion for August alone, up 11.1 percent year-on-year but compared to the previous month or in July, the monthly tally was lower by 2.4 percent. It was the first time remittances climbed at a double-digit pace this year, the central bank said. Read more

GHANA: First African Savings enters agreement with GCB

Accra, Oct. 17, GNA - Clients of First African Savings and Loans Limited (FASL), a money transfer organization, will now be able to send remittances to their dependents in Ghana faster through a partnership it has with the Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd (GCB).

Under the partnership FASL will take advantage of GCB’s nationwide spread of 157 branches and an efficient network to channel remittances from clients in Europe and North America to their beneficiaries in Ghana.

Speaking at a meeting of officials of the two institutions, Mr. Samuel Sarpong, Deputy Managing Director in charge of Operations, GCB, expressed his excitement at having FASL on board and pledged the commitment of the Bank to ensure the best in customer service. Read more

Monday, 17 October 2011

BankMuscat launches remittance service to Philippines

BankMuscat, the leading financial services provider in the Sultanate, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) Manila, signed an agreement to launch remittance service to the Philippines.

Sulaiman al Harthy, Group DGM – Consumer Banking, signed the agreement on behalf of BankMuscat and Cynthia P Santos, First Senior Vice-President, signed on behalf of RCBC, in the presence of Philippine embassy officials and prominent community members. To begin with, the new facility will be available at a dedicated remittance centre in Ruwi benefitting the 55,000-strong Filipino community in the Sultanate.

Sulaiman al Harthy said: “As always, BankMuscat takes the lead in offering value added services to customers, including Expat customers, out of which the Filipino community represents the fifth largest customer base of the bank. BankMuscat continuously seeks ways to ensure that our customers receive the best products and service. In view of our ongoing efforts to expanding banking services to customers, especially to meet the increased demand for remittance services, we are launching a dedicated Filipino remittance desk to cater to our customers. The BankMuscat strategy is to attract customers through innovative products and services. The Bank remains focused on providing value added services.” Read more

Kerala needs a new development ‘model’

Ever since the Center for Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram came out with a study highlighting Kerala’s accomplishments in the areas of its material quality of living, health and education some four decades ago, the phrase “Kerala model” has had a life of its own.
An array of eminent academics and public intellectuals — most notably, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen — have relentlessly sung praise to the “Kerala model,” and encouraged others to adopt it.
“Kerala demonstrates that a low-level economy can create a decent life, abundant in the things — health, education, community — that are most necessary for us all,” American environmentalist Bill McKibben wrote in the 1990s after visiting the state. “Kerala stands out as the Mount Everest of social development; there’s truly no place like it.”