Thursday, 4 June 2009

Help the poor help themselves

The west must do more to make it easier for migrants to send money back to the families they have left behind

By Pär Stenbäck

One early result of today's global recession is that many donor governments are trimming their foreign aid programs. Before taking office, the US president, Barack Obama, had promised a doubling of American foreign assistance, from $25bn to $50bn (£15.5bn to £31bn), but since then the vice-president, Joe Biden, has warned that this commitment will probably be achieved more slowly because of the downturn.

Here in Finland, our aid decreased by 62% in the early 1990's, a period that Finns still call "the depression". Japan's overseas aid declined by 44% when that country hit hard times. The current worldwide slump could bring a cut in official development assistance (ODA) of 30%. Read more here

Remittances to Latin America, Caribbean will decline by US$4B

Guyana’s Ambassador to Venezuela Odeen Ishmael says that during this year remittances to Latin American and Caribbean countries from the more developed countries will decline by US$4B from last year’s figure.

A reduction in remittances, he wrote, was already evident in 2008 and Guyana was listed as receiving US$414M as against US$423M the previous year.
According to Ishmael “migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) living in the more developed countries will send back to their home countries US$64B in 2009.” The Ambassador pointed out, however, that this total represents more than the sum of foreign direct investment and official development aid combined. Read more here

In Colombia, U.S. Downturn Decreases Remittances

PEREIRA, Colombia -- For the past three years, Felipe Ruiz has made his living as a landscape gardener in Connecticut. Recently, though, he was laid off, prompting his return to his hometown of Pereira, in the heart of Colombia's coffee-growing region.

"I didn't expect to return home so soon," said the 32-year-old Ruiz. "It was the last resort. My savings had dried up."

Every month, Ruiz had typically sent home $400 from his wages. Over the years, the money had been a key source of income for the family of five, who relied on the remittances to make ends meet and to pay for groceries and rent.

Ruiz's story is a typical one in Latin America, where remittances -- of which 75 percent come from emigrants working in the U.S. -- maintain millions of families above the poverty line. Last year, Latin American and Caribbean emigrants sent $69 billion back to their homelands.

But according to a recent study published by the Inter-American Dialogue, a think tank based in Washington, after almost a decade of growth, the amount of money sent home by Latin American and Caribbean emigrants is set to fall by up to 7 per cent this year -- due to job losses, lower earnings, decreased migration and continued deportations. Read more here

Remittances to Mexico down sharply

In another blow to Mexico's economy, the central bank reports the largest monthly decline yet in the amount of money Mexicans working abroad send home. Remittances for April are down 18.6%.

By Tracy Wilkinson
June 2, 2009

Reporting from Mexico City -- Mexico's reeling economy received another jolt of bad news Monday with reports of the largest monthly decline yet in the amount of money Mexicans working abroad send home.

Remittances for the month of April totaled about $1.7 billion, 18.6% less than the $2.1 billion recorded in April 2008, Mexico's central bank said. Read more

Remittances from UAE second highest in GCC

Dubai: More than $10 billion (Dh36.7 billion) is transferred annually by expatriate workers in the UAE to home markets, the second highest remittance funds of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

Remittances refer to a transfer of funds, usually in the context of expatriates sending money back to their home countries through an exchange, or bank transfer. The global remittance industry was estimated at $283 billion in 2008 by the World Bank, of which the GCC is an integral component.

The importance of the GCC in the global remittance industry has contributed to the decision by Money Transfer International (MTI), the global trade association, to launch MTI Middle East this year. Read more

Economic slowdown unlikely to affect remittances to India

MUMBAI: The slowdown in economy is unlikely to affect remittances to India, a top banking official said.

"The global economic slowdown has limited impact on remittances to India, which is estimated at three per cent of India's GDP," Washington-based Global Financial Integrity (GFI), Lead Economist, Dev Kumar Kar said here.

Speaking on 'Impact of Financial Crisis on Global Business,' Kar said, "India has a highly resilient economy and the global slowdown will have limited impact on India's growth prospect. The economy is forecast to grow at 6.7 per cent in FY 09 and around 6 per cent in FY 10."

Read more

BANGLADESH:Remittance Inflow Records Over 22 Percent Growth

Siddique Islam - AHN Correspondent

Dhaka, Bangladesh (AHN) - Bangladeshi expatriates sent home a record $8.764 billion in the first 11 months of this fiscal period, marking a 22.39 percent growth over the same period of the last fiscal.

"We expect that the flow of inward remittance may cross $9.50 billion by the end of fiscal 2008-09," Economic Adviser of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country's central bank, Habibullah Bahar told AHN in the capital, Dhaka on Wednesday.

The economy adviser also said the flow of remittances is still at a satisfactory level despite the ongoing global economic meltdown.

The country received $8.764 billion during the July-April period of 2008-09 fiscal against $7.161 billion of the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank statistics, released on Wednesday.

Read more