Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Luup, MoneyGram plan mobile remittances service

Mobile payment provider Luup International Ltd has joined forces with global money transfer company MoneyGram International to develop a mobile money transfer service by making use of the latter's global agent network and Luup's mobile payment services.

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Philippine workers abroad: The boon has a price

Reporting from Santa Barbara, Philippines - Looking down the main drag of this farm town, Police Chief Eric Noble marvels at the modern conveniences -- byproducts of the fierce ties binding Philippine families.

Sturdy houses with concrete foundations now replace the thatched huts of a generation ago. There are new cars, washing machines, children attending private schools and former sharecroppers who have purchased the farms where they once worked as lowly laborers. Read more

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

PAKISTAN: Govt to take steps for enhancing remittances

Saturday, August 15, 2009
By By Salman Siddiqui
KARACHI: The government is to formally announce a number of initiatives on August 21 in order to give a jump to home remittances.

On the same day, the government would also disclose its strategy as how Pakistan was receiving record high remittances since last couple of months when the world is passing through a historic recession.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin told this on Thursday night when media approached him to clarify his two contradicting statements in which he criticized the previous government of taking loans from international financial institutions such as International Monetary Fund (IMF) and on the other hand the current government was also availing the IMF standby loan of $7.6 billion since last November. He was available there on the sidelines of a meeting he held with the member of Managing Committee of Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) at a local hotel.

He said the government had already undertaken soft launch of the initiatives for enhancing remittances last May and would formally launch these initiatives on August 21. These initiatives would include the speeding up of services, revision in rates and convenience to the Pakistanis living abroad. As a matter of record, Pakistan received the highest-ever remittances in a month at $747.22 million in July 2009 and $7.811 billion the highest-ever remittances in a year ended on June 30, 2008. Read More

CAMBODIA: Bank reports slump in remittances

ACLEDA counts 25 percent drop in trade transactions over first half of year compared with 2008, but expects an uptick before the end of the year after flows showed signs of recovery in June

Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Slumping volumes through Cambodia’s ports have led to a 24.6 percent drop in ACLEDA Bank’s remittances business.
Cross-border money remittances through ACLEDA Bank dropped 24.6 percent year on year in the first half from US$727.34 million to $547.83 million, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer So Phonnary said.

The fall was due largely to exports and imports, she said.

"The major decline was due to the drop in garment exports, so money transferred into the country was down," she said. "Because demand for imports of automobiles, machinery and goods and commodities into Cambodia also dropped, the amount of money transferred out of Cambodia was also down."

Outgoing remittances fell 16.4 percent to $284.29 million, and inbound remittances dropped 31.8 percent to $263.54 million. Read more

EL SALVADOR: Salvadoran remittances drop 11 percent in 2009

El Salvador's central bank says the money citizens living abroad sent home during the first seven months of this year dropped 11 percent compared to the same period in 2008.

The bank says remittances between January and July reached $2 billion in the Central American country compared to $2.2 billion during the same period last year.

In a report issued Monday, the bank blamed the decrease on rising unemployment in the United States, especially among Latin American immigrants.

Remittances represent the largest source of legal foreign income. About 2.5 million Salvadorans live in the United States. Read more

INDIA: Kerala banks report healthy growth in remittances in FY09

Despite the financial meltdown and global recession, Kerala-based banks have posted healthy growth in inward remittances in financial year 2009.
Latest annual reports of Kerala-based banks noted that the depreciation of rupee against major currenc-ies as well as the global financial meltdown prompted NRIs to park their savings in India. There were 25.52 lakh remittances worth Rs 12,538 crore to India by NRIs through Federal Bank, in FY09 against 21.58 lakh remittances worth Rs 7,933 crore in the previous year.

At South Indian Bank (SIB), the total turnover of inward remittances thro-ugh exchange houses increased 69.31 per cent to Rs 2,827.82 crore in FY09 from Rs 1,318 crore during the corresponding period in the previous year.

South India Bank provides managerial support to Hadi Express Exchange, U-AE. Its volume of remitta-nce through this exchange increased to Rs 617.99 cr-ore in FY09, a 335 per cent jump from previous year. Read more

ECUADOR: Ecuador remittances fall 21 pct in first 6 months

QUITO, Ecuador -- Ecuador's central bank says the money that citizens living abroad sent home during the first six months of the year dropped 21 percent from the same period of 2008.

A central bank report issued Monday says remittances totaled $1.2 billion from January through June, down from $1.5 billion in the first half of last year. The report blames rising unemployment in the United States and the European Union.

Remittances plunged 22 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, leaving last year down 8.6 percent from 2007. Read more

Saturday, 15 August 2009

NIGERIA: Nigerian economy under threat as FDI, remittance inflows drop

With a severe credit squeeze traumatising the economies of Europe, the United States of America, Japan and China, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and even private remittance inflows to Nigeria alongside other developing regions may suffer a decline in the years to come. This likely decline in investment inflow into the country will definitely have a negative multiplier effect on not only capital formation and growth projections for the economy, but on employment generation and human development.

Certainly, with a projected decline in FDI, the country’s hope to realise $600 billion in FDI before 2020, in furtherance of its vision to be one of the world’s top 20 economies by 2020 may go unfulfilled. Read more

NEPAL: Remittance sustains 30pc families

KATHMANDU, Aug 11 - Each household which has a family member working abroad receives an average remittance of Rs. 80,462 per year.

The Labour Force Survey 2008 carried out by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) revealed that 30 percent of the households receives remittances either from inside or outside the country.

Overseas remittances accou- nt for 83.2 percent with the rest coming from within the country. Families receiving remittances from inside the country receive an average of Rs. 28,976

per year.

According to Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the country received remittances amounting to Rs. 204.72 including money sent back by workers and servicemen's pensions during the first 11 months of the last fiscal year.

The remittance inflow grew by 51 percent during 11 months of last fiscal year against the increase of 37.3 percent, according to the NRB. The government has also admitted that the role of remittance remained crucial to reduce to people under poverty line from 41 percent to 31 percent now.

Above two million people are estimated to have gone to foreign countries to work. The survey found that 29.1 percent of the households had at least one member working abroad. Read more


Despite the global economic downturn which affected the foreign exchange earnings of many countries, Sri Lanka's foreign remittances from expatriate Sri Lankans working in many parts of the world recorded an increase of five percent compared to 2008, a senior official of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka told Daily News Business.

Migrant workers

He said, "Foreign remittances during the first half of 2009 were US$ 1.6 billion while remittances during the corresponding period in 2008 were US$ 1.5 billion, a five percent growth over last year."

"However, during the first quarter of 2009 the remittances showed a slight decrease - US$ 774 million by Sri Lankan expatriates, compared to US$ 787 million during the corresponding period in 2008," he said. Read more

Risks to remittance flows call for cautious policies in recipient countries

The slowdown in remittance flows that became evident in the last quarter of 2008 continued into the first half 2009, therefore posing more threat to top recipient countries.

Not a few economic watchers have come to realise the implication of declining remittance flows to recipient countries, advising on the need to put in place policies that would cushion the effect of the projected decline.

After the latest data revisions for 2008, India, China and Mexico, retain their position as the top recipients of migrant remittances among developing countries. Other top 10 remittance recipients include Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. In contrast, the top recipients in terms of the share of remittances in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) include many smaller economies such as Tajikistan, Tonga, Moldova, Lesotho, and Guyana. Read more

BANGLADESH: Remittance drives banks to open exchange houses abroad

Sajjadur Rahman

Private commercial banks (PCBs) are scrambling to open exchange houses abroad to cash in on increasing business driven by inward remittances, officials said.

At least half a dozen banks sought permission from Bangladesh Bank to open nearly 10 exchange houses in remittance destinations, such as Canada, Italy, Singapore and the UK, central bank officials said.

Currently, eight local banks -- including the state-owned four -- have 28 exchange houses abroad, BB data shows. Read more

LATIN AMERICA: Region to lose millions in remittances

WASHINGTON, CMC - The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Wednesday said that Latin America and the Caribbean are expected to experience an 11 per cent decline in remittances this year.

According to the IDB’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), the region is expected to receive about US$62 billion in remittances from its expatriates in 2009.

“The estimate reflects the impact of the global economic crisis on migrant workers from this region, most of whom are living in industrialised countries hit by recessions, such as the United States, Spain and Japan,” the MIF said.

IDB president Luis Alberto Moreno said the crisis is clearly limiting migrants’ capacity to send money home. Read more

PAKISTAN: Pakistan's July remittances at record $747.22 mln

KARACHI, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Pakistan received a record $747.22 million in remittances from citizens overseas in July, compared with $627.21 million in the same month last year, the State Bank of Pakistan said late on Tuesday.

The previous monthly record was $739.43 million, received in March.
Article Controls

The largest inflow of remittances during July came from the United Arab Emirates, with $159.32 million, followed by Saudi Arabia with $150.13 million. Read more

RWANDA: Kigali — The government has called upon the Rwandan Diaspora to embrace the different socio-economic policies that the government has adopted

Kigali — The government has called upon the Rwandan Diaspora to embrace the different socio-economic policies that the government has adopted to foster development.

Addressing the Diaspora yesterday, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Cooperation, Rosemary Museminali, urged them to exercise their democratic right by fully participating in next year's presidential elections.

The meeting drew participants from 13 countries including Rwandan students currently persuing their education in Saudi Arabia. Read more

JAMAICA: Remittances plunge - Flow dips to three-year low

Remittances plunge - Flow dips to three-year low

Published: Friday | August 14, 2009

Lavern Clarke, Business Editor

Remittance inflows to Jamaica have already dropped close to 16 per cent since January, and a multilateral agency is predicting that money transfer markets will continue to slide and that the drop would be widespread across Latin America and the Caribbean region.

The Inter-American Develop-ment Bank (IDB) estimates that remittances will decline 11 per cent year-on-year, based on its annual survey of migrant workers, and that this could affect some four million people funded by relatives working overseas.

Average transfers were found to have slipped from US$241 to US$230 per transaction, while the frequency is down from 15 times per year to 12 per migrant.

The IDB's Multilateral Invest-ment Fund, which tracks the flows annually starting this decade, estimates that remittances will fall to a three-year low of US$62 billion in 2009. Read more

Monday, 3 August 2009

Bonn Conference on International Development Policy 2009

New Impulses for Development Cooperation between the Regions and Local Authorities

The federal states, regions and local authorities are important players in the field of development cooperation.

Development cooperation is not solely a domain of the national states. On the contrary: Federal states (or rather in the European context: Regions) and local authorities are also important players. This is the message of the 2nd Bonn Conference on International Development. But how can and how do the subnational players want to employ their skills? Which development policy tasks do the federal states or the regions assume, and which tasks are carried out by local authorities? What form can development cooperation with a viable future, in which the Federal government, federal states and local authorities are jointly responsible, take? What do the federal states expect from the federal government? These questions that were already posed in 2008 at the annual conference of the heads of government of the federal states in Dresden, will now be further discussed in Bonn. In this process we should take a look beyond Germany`s boundaries to other European states and their partners in Sub-Saharan Africa. Guests from France, Sweden, Spain, Ghana and from numerous additional African and European states report on their experiences working with other countries in the field of Development Cooperation. Specific examples of everyday cooperative work, which are presented at the 2nd Bonn Conference on International Development Policy additionally provide action guidance. As was already the case at the 1st Bonn Conference the event organisers will attach great importance to dialogue between experts from the political, economic, science and civil society sectors.

The 2nd Bonn Conference on International Development Policy is an event organised by the Ministry for Intergenerational Affairs, Family, Women and Integration of the Federal German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MGFFI). The joint event organisers are the Association of German development non-governmental organisations (VENRO), the Federal City of Bonn, the German Development Institute (DIE), and the KfW Entwicklungsbank. The event's cooperation partners are the Deutsche Welle (DW), the European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), and the NRW.BANK.

Go to the programme
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JAMAICA: Bumpy ride after remittance bonaza

Dennis Morrison, Contributor

As we enter the peak of the traditional summer traffic of returning non-resident Jamaicans, families across the island are no doubt excited to welcome home their relatives for the Emancipation and Independence festivities. The overflow in the immigration and customs halls at both our airports, but especially at the Norman Manley International, is a visible reminder of the substantial numbers who make the trip at this time of year. Usually, about 30 per cent of the annual traffic of returning Jamaicans come home in the July-August period, putting it ahead of the 25 per cent who visit during the Christmas season.

With unemployment rising in the USA, Canada and the UK where the vast majority of our overseas relatives reside, it is not surprising that the traffic in July was running five per cent or so behind last year. The flow of remittances, another powerful indicator of the close ties between the two Jamaicas, is even more seriously affected, declining by 16.7 per cent, or US$141.5 million in the January to May period. Contrary to earlier predictions, overseas Jamaicans have not been immune from the recession, losing jobs and wealth, and thus, have had to cut back on money transfers to relatives here. Read more

SRI LANKA: Mobile phones for inward remittances, awaiting guidelines

A recent study indicated that using mobile phones for inward remittances had potential among Sri Lankan migrant workers. However, regulators need to set out clear guidelines for mobile operators to develop this concept.

“Mobile payment facilities have great potential for remittances,” says a study conducted by LIRNEasia, on Tele-use at the Bottom of the Pyramid. LIRNEasia is a non governmental organisation involved in information and communication technology policy and regulation capacity-building.

“However, without clear guidelines, mobile operators cannot develop, test and deploy such services to cater to this important market,” says the study. The study that targeted 106 recently returned Sri Lankan migrant workers belonging to the lowest socioeconomic segments, says the system also needs credible organisations involved in the transactions, for migrant workers to trust the concept. Read more

Saturday, 1 August 2009

MEXICO: Mexican Households Getting Remittances Down 15 Percent

MEXICO CITY – The number of Mexican homes that received remittances from abroad fell by 14.8 percent between 2006 and 2008, BBVA Bamcomer said in a report released Monday.

During that period, more than 275,000 families “stopped counting on this important source of income,” said the Spanish-owned bank in an analysis of the Mexican government’s 2008 National Household Incone and Expenditures Survey, or ENIGH.

Thus, if in 2006 a total of 1.86 million families received remittances, in 2008 that figure fell to 1.58 million.

Remittances – overwhelmingly from the United States – constitute Mexico’s No. 2 source of revenue after oil exports. Read more

ARMENIA: Armenian Remittances Slump In 2009

Cash remittances wired home by scores of Armenians working abroad fell by 36 percent to just under $600 million in the first half of this year, adding to the country’s worst economic downturn since the early 1990s.
The sharp drop reported by the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) on Tuesday is one of the reasons why the Armenian economy contracted by 16.3 percent during this period. It resulted from the ongoing recession in Russia and other countries with large numbers of Armenian migrant workers.

The total amount of cash inflows processed by Armenian commercial banks and wire transfer systems was equivalent to 18.4 percent of first-half Gross Domestic Product (GDP), reflecting their significance the economy. Read more

Philippines: Labor dep’t sees remittances growing to $17 billion this year

THE DEPARTMENT of Labor and Employment (DoLE) believes remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) this year will manage to grow 3.6% to $17 billion.

This is contrary to expectations by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) that these fund flows would remain at the $16.4 billion recorded last year.

Labor Secretary Marianito D. Roque said in a statement yesterday that the remittances of OFWs will be buoyed by increasing deployments this year.

"[The] distinctive global preference for the OFWs continues to complement worldwide efforts to dispel [sic] the lingering effects of the global financial crisis," the statement quoted Mr. Roque as saying.

BSP data show remittance grew 13.7% to $16.4 billion last year, but that these flows rose by a slower 2.8% to $6.98 billion last January-May from the $6.79 billion recorded in the same period last year. Read more

Kenya: Diaspora remittances drop as job losses rise

By Morris Aron

Remittances from the Diaspora fell to the lowest level since January raising the uncertainty bar over the direction the flow is likely to take in the coming months after the US and UK reported massive layoffs last month.

Remittances fell to just over $46,347 (Sh3.6 billion) in June since peaking at $55, 361 (Sh4.3 billion) in March.

Analysts say that if the trend is sustained in the medium to long term, sectors of the economy that rely on remittances — such as real estate, construction — and households are likely to be negatively affected. Read more

FIJI: Remittances saved Fiji from earlier devaluation

Fiji would have recorded devaluation 3 to 4 years ago if there were no impact of remittance income says Academic Doctor Wadan Narsey.

"We would have to devalue probably 4 years ago, 3 years ago had it not been the impact of remittance income which have been the order of 3 - $400m recorded losses and probably keeping in mind what has been unrecorded its probably of the order of around $600m," said Dr Narsey. Read more

Remittances to developing countries What goes up

Remittances rose in 2008. This year will be different

THINGS that grew rapidly in 2008 included home foreclosures, government deficits and the ranks of the jobless. More encouragingly, remittances to developing countries also expanded. The World Bank reckons that migrant workers sent $328 billion home to their families last year, 15% more than in 2007.

This continued growth is particularly striking because it came in a year when other private financial flows into the developing world declined dramatically. The net inflows of private capital to these economies dropped by nearly two-fifths, from $1.16 trillion in 2007 to $707 billion, as panicky rich-world investors turned inward and foreign banks became increasingly reluctant to lend across borders. Dilip Ratha of the World Bank wryly remarks that migrants are being “thrust into the role of a sort of lender of last resort.” Read more

New mechanism to monitor expatriate remittance to Yemen

SANAA, July 31 (Saba) – The Yemen Central Bank will start in August introducing a new mechanism to monitor remittance by Yemeni expatriates, a move which aims to provide a more realistic picture of the amount of remittances by Yemeni nationals abroad into their homeland.

The new mechanism would be established in cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and will focus on estimating in-kind-remittances of Yemeni expatriates, director of the Research Department at the bank Hussein al-Kaheli said.

Money remittances would be checked by banks and exchange companies working in the country through filling in special forms.

In the meantime, remittance by the Yemeni expatriates may fall this year due to the global economic crisis. Read more