Friday, 29 January 2010

HAITI: WOCCU Project Partners Reopen Remittance Lines into Haiti

The Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake and damage to financial services infrastructures has created a liquidity crunch in the country, said Saul Wolf, remittance manager for IRnet, part of World Council of Credit Unions' for-profit subsidiary, WOCCU Services Group.

That includes remittance income, which accounts for nearly one-quarter of Haiti’s gross domestic product, WOCCU said in the release.

"Remittance programs require an IT infrastructure, and any that were located in Port-au-Prince were probably destroyed,” he said.

Remittance delivery organizations such as Fonkoze, a WOCCU partner in the Haiti project, have found ways around the problem, most likely using a back-up server located elsewhere and relying on intermittent Internet access, Wolf said. Read more

HAITI: Let Them Leave

Long before the calamity in Haiti, many Haitians and their families benefited from working abroad, and many, including me, have suggested allowing more Haitian immigrants into the United States as a way to help the country's economy recover.

It might seem strange that the best solution to Haiti's woes lies outside its borders, but migration and remittances have been responsible for almost all of the poverty reduction that has happened in the island country over the past few decades. They have done enormously more good than any policy intended to reduce poverty inside Haiti during that time. Any poverty-reduction strategy for Haiti going forward that does not include what has been Haitians' most successful poverty-reduction strategy to date is not a serious one.

This idea is a no-brainer if we take a minute to look at the numbers. Read more

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Mexico Sees Record Drop in Remittances

(AP) Money sent home by Mexicans abroad plunged a record 15.7 percent in 2009 as migrants worldwide struggled to find work during the global economic slowdown, the central bank reported Wednesday.

Remittances - Mexico's No. 2 source of foreign income after oil exports - totaled $21.2 billion in 2009, compared with $25.1 billion in 2008, the bank said.

Since the bank began tracking remittances in 1996, it has recorded just one other annual decline - a 3.6 percent decrease in 2008, as the world financial crisis exploded. Read more

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Wells Fargo Adds ExpressSend® Remittance Paying Agent in Mexico and Expands to 8 Additional Latin American Countries

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE:WFC) has more than doubled the number of countries that can receive Wells Fargo ExpressSend remittance transactions – expanding to Honduras, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. Additionally, Wells Fargo has added Telecomunicaciones de Mexico (Telecomm Telegrafos) – one of the largest telecommunications companies in Mexico – as a new paying agent. Customers can now remit to an additional 1,560 new payout locations in Mexico, bringing the total payout locations in Mexico to more than 5,500 locations.

“Mexico is one of the largest remittance corridors and a key driver for our remittance business”

“The expansion of our consumer remittance network in Latin America reflects on our long-standing commitment to satisfying all of our customers financial services needs,” said Daniel Ayala, executive vice president and head of Wells Fargo's Global Remittance Services. “Our Hispanic customer base is made of immigrants from a number of Latin American countries. Wells Fargo wants to be the bank of choice for this increasingly important high growth consumer segment.” Read more

PHILIPPINES: OFWs’ financial future

While it is well known that the reason the Philippines escaped a recession is due in part to the huge remittances from the country’s overseas Filipino workers, there is a lingering fear that these OFWs, save for those with financial savvy or with the benefit of financial education, face an uncertain future when they reach retirement age.

Many of our OFWs, it must be noted, do not have access to a financial-literacy program that should come from the government or any advocacy group. Without that, the OFWs are bound to continue with their wasteful spending ways that do not take into consideration their future well-being.

Stories abound about OFW families facing bleak prospects once their principal end the workers’ stint abroad. Having failed to save for their future because of their wasteful ways, these OFW families become mendicants in their own neighborhood. And with nary an income, they are reduced to dwelling on “what ifs.” Which is a pity considering that they once were branded as modern-day heroes and saviors of the economy. What kind of life awaits them when they have not learned the rudiments of saving for their future, or simply of saving part of their income? This is a challenge the administration should seriously consider—to show its gratitude, to say the least, to those who saved the country from economic ruin. Read more

PHILIPPINES: Globe’s GCASH biggest remit network

Globe Telecom Inc.’s electronic wallet, GCash, has hauled in 1.2 million users to date, with an average transaction value of P5 billion a month in over 18,000 outlets all over the archipelago, making it the largest remittance network in the Philippines, claimed President and CEO Ernest L. Cu.

Expanding the GCASH network is a key strategy to the success of the business, he noted. Recently, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas approved G-Xchange, Inc.’s request to use Globe Telecom’s Sub Distributors as GCash Outlets. With more outlets, Globe can lower the delivery cost of remittances, on top of providing easier access to financial services.

Distribution has always been a challenge in the geographically fragmented archipelago and 70-80 percent of the over 90 million population remaining unbanked or underbanked.
Read more

MEXICO: UPDATE 2-Mexico migrant remittances fall in Nov

Fri, Jan 2 2009, 18:54 GMT

MEXICO CITY, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Mexicans living abroad sent less money home in November compared with the same month a year ago, the central bank said on Friday.

Remittances, one of Mexico's biggest sources of foreign currency, fell 10.68 percent in November to $1.607 billion, the bank said.

Migrant cash flows, which are a lifeline for millions of poor Mexican families, are expected to weaken more in the coming months as the U.S. economic slowdown hits Mexican workers living there.

A weakening in the U.S. construction and manufacturing sectors is weighing particularly heavily on migrants, whose jobless rate jumped higher than that of the general U.S. population during 2008. Read more

Monday, 25 January 2010

PHILIPPINES: Globe to set up huge remittance network

GLOBE TELECOM INC. has secured regulatory approval to build the biggest remittance network in the country, using the company’s 18,000 prepaid loading stations, such as convenience stores and food establishments, throughout the country.

Globe yesterday said in a statement that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Monetary Board recently approved the request of Globe subsidiary G-Xchange Inc. (GXI), to use the telco’s subdistributors as GCash outlets.

“Our distribution system is one of our most valuable assets and combined with our current GCash network of partners will help us significantly expand our efforts to provide a vehicle for financial inclusion to more Filipinos all over the country,” said Ernesto Cu, president and CEO of the telecommunications unit of Ayala Corp.

Read more

Global Financial Crisis Affects Remittances to Africa

Africans in the Diaspora send less money to families at home

The global economic downturn is hurting Africans in the Diaspora. It’s harder for them to send money home, and that leads to problems for those who depend on the funds.

Remittances to developing countries are expected to fall from $305 billion in 2008 to $208 billion for 2009, according to the World Bank. The severity of the problem is seen in the fact that in many developing countries, remittances are reported to bring in even more money than direct aid.

Millions of Africans depend on their relatives in the Diaspora to send them funds for their daily livelihood, including food and other essential commodities. Read more

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Migrant Remittances to Bulgaria Hit by Global Downturn

There has been a dramatic decline in the amount of remittances from Bulgarians working abroad over the last four years due primarily to the start of the global downturn, according to a new report.

Remittances from Bulgarians working abroad totaled BGN 2,011 M in the first eleven months of last year, show data of the Bulgarian Central Bank and the Institute for Market Economy.

The estimate is considerably less than figures released for the previous year, according to which the total sum of money that flowed into the country from migrant workers reached BGN 2, 850 M or about 4,3 % of GDP.

The inflow of remittances in 2007 totaled BGN 2, 470, data shows.

Experts say the decline in the the cash brought back to Bulgaria will have a negative impact on the Bulgarian economy and shrink people's spending.

Remittances from migrant workers are a lifeline to large sections of the Bulgarian economy, particularly the retail trade and the housing market.

According to the World Bank, Bulgaria has one of the highest proportions of its population working abroad of any country in the world.

In 2009 approximately 1,5 million Bulgarians were based abroad, equal to 15% of the population. Source

BANGLADESH: 2009 remittance sets new benchmark

Remittance crossed $10 billion mark for the first time in Bangladesh history in the year 2009 because migrants, a main driver of the country's economic progress, sent more money home despite all odds during global recession.

With 20 percent growth, remittance inflow reached $10.72 billion last year, although the year marked a fall in manpower exports. In 2008, the remittance was $8.97 billion.

The overseas employment ministry data shows that the number of migrant workers declined 46 percent to 475,278 persons in January-December of 2009. In 2008, the number was 875,055. Read more

Saturday, 23 January 2010

POLAND: Poles are not trying to escape UK

Contrary to some suggestions, Poles are not escaping Britain – we are trying to survive here. Since 2004, more than 2 million Poles – mostly young – have gone abroad in search of work. They left mainly because of the following factors: demographic (the 1980 "baby boom" generation), economic (discrepancies in salaries in Poland) and political (the opportunity to work legally thanks to Poland's entry into the EU).

It is very difficult to estimate how many of those two million migrated to Britain, and it is even harder to estimate the number who have returned. Different countries adopt different definitions of a "returning migrant". Sometimes people tell researchers they are thinking of returning, but in reality they try to postpone the final decision for as long as possible. Sometimes they return home and, after not being able to find a job, return to the country where they originally emigrated. Sometimes they try to move to a third country. Read more

FIJI: New source sought

Fiji is now looking at remittances from countries such as Abu Dhabi and Djibouti in the United Arab Emirates now traditional venues such as Australia and New Zealand are tightening their foreign employment policies after the global recession.

Economist Dr Mahendra Reddy said it was only common for people to be looking employment in countries that had not been affected by the global economic downturn.

"When it comes to remittance, Australia and New Zealand have been traditional grounds for Fiji and we have always looked close at home. But with money offered in these other countries the trend has shifted," he said.

The Fiji National University professor said people seeking employment in those countries had to make sure they got a proper deal. Agencies have confirmed that jobs for drivers, security personnel, engineers, nurses, teachers and other trades workers were in demand. Even former Meridian Services man, Timoci Lolohea has been recruiting people for the UAE. Read more

EXIM Bank opens second exchange house in Canada

Export Import Bank of Bangladesh Limited opened its own exchange house 'Exim Exchange Company (Canada) Ltd' at Toronto, Canada Saturday.

This exchange house, registered with Canadian regulator FINTRAC, is a compliant official money transfer channel to serve Bangladeshi expatriates working and living in Canada.

The Chairman of the bank Mr. Md. Nazrul Islam Mazumder inaugurated the exchange house at Danforth Road in Toronto. Yakub Ali, Bangladesh high commissioner in Canada was present as special guest on the occasion.

"EXIM ventures to explore this new and potential arena of remittance as a first Bangladeshi private bank. Following the launching of its second exchange house, our bank cherishes the vision of being a major force in the country's remittance influx eyeing upon countries with a large number of Bangladeshi expatriates," Managing Director of EXIMBank Kazi Masihur Rahman told FE. Read more

HAITI: Sending money home to Haiti from the U.S. proves difficult

y Peter Whoriskey
Saturday, January 23, 2010; 8:42 AM

MIAMI -- Even in normal times, the dingy money transfer storefronts in this city's Little Haiti provide a critical lifeline for the island nation. Here, and in other immigrant hubs in the United States, money passed to tellers behind plastic glass and then relayed back home is part of a flow that amounts to as much as a quarter of Haiti's economy.

But since the Jan. 12 earthquake, just as Haitians in the United States and elsewhere rallied to send money back home, the critical economic conduit stopped working, and is still far from restored. Read more

MoneyGram makes big move in China

MoneyGram International will partner with the Bank of China, a leading Chinese domestic bank to open in 10,000 Bank of China mainland branches through 2011, according to an agreement announced this week.

The agreement more than triples St. Louis Park-based MoneyGram’s presence in the Chinese market and follows a successful six-month pilot in 240 Bank of China branch locations in Beijing.

The expansion started in January and will focus at first in provinces on the southern and eastern coast. The new alliance will create additional opportunities for MoneyGram in several other countries in the Asia Pacific region.

The bank started serving the Chinese market in 1994 through several smaller agents, but this partnership marks a major initiative in a market that generates $25 billion in annual remittances.

MoneyGram also announced a recent expansion in Hungary through its partnership with agent Corner Cash Keszpenz Zrt, which operates currency exchange shops in 11 cities. Corner Cash plans to expand into more cities soon.

MoneyGram is returning to the Hungarian market, with about $4.5 billion in remittances, after a seven-year absence. Source

HAITI: Money from Kin Abroad Buoys Haitian Quake Victims

By Jesus Sanchis

PORT-AU-PRINCE – The arrival of the first remittances from abroad since the Jan. 12 earthquake brought a hint of relief Thursday to some of the 3 million Haitians affected by the disaster, which left as many as 200,000 people dead.

The money transfer agencies that opened their doors quickly attracted Port-au-Prince residents desperate for cash to obtain food and other necessities in this devastated capital.

“If I don’t manage to pick up my money today I will die of hunger. I have two children to feed; without money I can do nothing,” Louisse Matturin, a young woman who works at a hotel, told Efe outside the door of one agency. Read more

KERALA: Africa Showing Signs of Revival

Shimelse Ali International Economic Bulletin, January 2010

Africa1 has been severely hit by the global economic downturn—with per capita incomes declining an estimated 1 percent in 2009 after many years of rising living standards—but the worst may be over. Signs of recovery are emerging in trade and manufacturing. In addition, hurt as it was by the crisis, the region seems to have avoided the macroeconomic instability that accompanied previous slowdowns. Stronger pre-crisis positions—balanced or in-surplus budgets, current account surpluses, and lower debt levels—helped many countries absorb external shocks. However, the crisis reinforces a number of policy lessons the region can use to increase resilience.

Read more

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

MoneyGram teams with Bank of China

MoneyGram International Inc. said Tuesday it has entered into a partnership with Bank of China to bring its money transfer services to the bank's 10,000 Chinese branches over the next several years.

MoneyGram said the partnership will triple its presence in China's $25 billion market for remittances, which is money wired into the country from overseas.

MoneyGram said it will roll out its money transfer services at Bank of China branches in the country's southern and eastern coast this month and elsewhere over the next two years.

The company called China a "critical focus" of its expansion in 2010. It has had a presence in China since 1994.

MoneyGram shares fell 3 cents to $3.11 in afternoon trading. Source

SRI LANKA foreign reserves US5.2bn in November

Jan 20, 2010 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's foreign reserves reached 5,228 million US dollars by end November 2009, which was equal to 6.4 months of imports, the Central Bank said.
With the balances of the Asian Clearing Union, a regional settlement arrangement involving countries which do not have fully convertible currencies, reserves were at 5,308 million US dollars.

The Central Bank said foreign investors had pumped in 262 million US dollars to government Treasury bills and 1,068 million US dollars to Treasury bonds.

Foreign remittances from expatriate workers were up 14.7 percent to 3,035 million US dollars in the nine months to September.

Sri Lanka has a pegged exchange rate regime.

As a result foreign remittances and borrowings, which increase the spending power of the people are the key drivers of Sri Lanka's trade deficit, unless the Central Bank sterilizes the resulting rupee liquidity to lock up reserves. Source

SPAIN: 20% o fRemittances through informal channels

(ANSAmed) - MADRID - Twenty percent of remittances that immigrants send from Spain to their home countries leave through ''informal'' channels, unchecked, without guarantees. Between January and September of 2009, foreign residents in Spain sent remittances totalling 7.050 billion euros; 20%, or 1.7 billion euros of which passed through unregulated channels, according to the results of a study published by the Permanent Immigration Commission.

In presenting the results of the study to the press, Secretary of State for Immigration Consuelo Rumi underscored that remittances that do not go through channels that are controlled can only be estimated, while those sent through regular channels represent a substantial percentage of the GDP for immigrants' countries of origin, which in some cases account for more than 10% of the GDP.

The economic crisis, naturally, has had serious effects also on the amount of remittances, which, after hitting a record level in 2007 with 8.445 billion euros, reached just over 7 billion euros in 2009. The scarce figure of 20% that travelled through illegal channels did so in various ways, but mainly were carried by car. In 2008, 421 travellers were stopped by Spanish customs officers, exiting from the country in possession of greater than allowed or declared sums of money.

According to the head of the study, Inigo More', the illegal transfer of money is not a generalised phenomenon, but mainly involves several communities of immigrants, such as Venezuelans, 70% of which prefer this system; followed by Gambian citizens (50%), then Ukrainians, Moroccans and Polish citizens (40%). Ecuadorians are the most observant of the legal mechanisms. In terms of the amount of remittances, Moroccans topped the rankings of illegal transfers, followed by Romanians and Portuguese citizens. (ANSAmed). Source

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

HONDURAS: Remittances Decline More than 11%

The single largest revenue generator in Honduras are remittances -- money sent by some 1 million Hondurans living abroad to their families in Honduras. The country's Central Bank has been tracking these money transfers for many years. In 2001, remittances to Honduras were estimated at US$460 million; in 2002, US$770 million; in 2003, US$862 million; in 2004, US$1.134 billion; in 2005, US$1.763 billion; in 2006; US$2.359 billion; in 2007, US$2.512 billion; and in 2008, US$2.707 billion. It is remittances that have fueled the growth in Honduras's economy during the past four years. Read more

BANGLADESH: $10.72 b remittance from migrant wokers in 2009

The remittances from Bangladesh's migrant workers contributed a record US $ 10.72 billion in 2009 although the country's manpower export declined by 46 percent last year due to global economic meltdown.

President of Bangladesh Association of International Recruitment Agencies (BAIRA) Ghulam Mustafa stated this at a press conference at BAIRA auditorium on Monday morning.

He said: "It's a great achievement and historical event that our migrant workers contributed with a substantial remittance US $ 10.72 billion last year (2009) while the amount was US $ 8.98 billion in 2008."

The BAIRA chief informed that they exported an average of some 398,121 manpower every year over the last 10 years. Despite nearly 46 percent decline in manpower export due to global economic recession, some 475,278 manpower were exported from Bangladesh in 2009, he said. Read more

Monday, 18 January 2010

Does Microcredit Really Help Poor People?

anuary 14, 2010

With public funding for development under the greatest pressure in nearly two decades, the international community has focused more than ever on asking questions about what aid works best and why. Microfinance, particularly microcredit, has come under scrutiny as recent studies have emerged that may cast doubt on some of the claims around its impact on the lives of poor people.

In a new Focus Note entitled, “Does Microcredit Really Help Poor People,” CGAP’s Richard Rosenberg reflects on the state of the evidence.

Microcredit began to capture public attention a quarter-century ago, rising to prominence with reports that tiny loans were enabling millions of poor borrowers, mostly women, to start or expand microbusinesses, and that the new income from those businesses was lifting many out of poverty. There have been hundreds of inspiring stories of poor people who lifted themselves into the middle class with income from businesses they financed with microloans. Rosenberg asks, “Do these individual anecdotes represent the general experience of the hundreds of millions who have gotten microloans over the years? Is microcredit being oversold?”
Read more

PAKISTAN: Remittances up 24pc

KARACHI - Remittances sent home by overseas Pakistanis continued to show a rising trend as an amount of $4,531.08 million was received in the first half (July-December) of the current fiscal year 2009-10, showing an increase of $891.07m or 24.48 percent over the same period of the last fiscal year. The amount of $4,531.08m includes $0.99m received through encashment and profit earned on Foreign Exchange Bearer Certificates (FEBCs) and Foreign Currency Bearer Certificates (FCBCs).
In December 2009, an amount of $698.44m was sent home by overseas Pakistanis, up 3.70 percent or $24.94m, when compared with $673.50m received in the same month last year.

Read more

Kenya's Diaspora Takes Lead in Investing Back Home

Remittances seen growing as global crisis eases

By Johnstone Ole Turana

Remittances from Kenyans in the diaspora are steadying up with strong indications of a more promising growth in 2010 as the global economic crisis seems to be bottoming up. In addition, remittances from Kenyans in the rest of the world other than the traditional Northern America and Europe sources have been on an upward trend as these regions have relatively been immune to the global crisis. The latest figures from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows that the declining trend associated with remittances in the better part of last year is ebbing out pointing to a possible upward growth this year. Read more

CAMEROON: Remittance from Cameroon Migrants Fuels Exotic Domestic Lifestyle

Economic Importance of Remittances

By Ernest L. Molua

Remittances, the portion of migrant workers’ earnings sent home to their families, have been a critical means of financial support for generations. For the most part, these flows have historically been “hidden in plain view”, often uncounted and even ignored. Remittances from Cameroon diaspora are now playing significant role in the socio-economic development of the country.

The impact of remittances is now recognized in Cameroon as constituting an important flow of foreign currency and directly reaching hundreds of thousands of households. Nowhere has the impact been felt more than the agricultural sector and rural areas that employ 70 percent of Cameroonians. However, for remittances to continue financing consumption and investment, such as in education, agricultural and housing projects, among others, the wiring channels and financial intermediaries must be assisted to provide better services
Read Complete Report


Friday, 15 January 2010

PAKISTAN: ‘Foreign remittances to touch $12bn this year’

Friday, January 15, 2010
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Farooq Sattar on Thursday told National Assembly (NA) that foreign remittances would touch $12 billion mark this year, hoping that if it continues with the same pace, the country would shortly get deliverance from foreign loans.

This year, “we have set the target for one billion dollars per month. The country would soon get rid of IMF and the other foreign funding institutions if the influx goes on with the same pace,” the minister said.

He said the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OFP) generates its income through the registration fee for members, fees of educational institutions and the sale of plots in its housing scheme, adding that recently the ministry has allotted 1,200 plots to overseas Pakistanis through balloting.

Sattar told the house that no scholarship scheme is being provided to the overseas Pakistanis, currently, for higher education as it would be beyond the financial capacity of the foundation. The minister said the OPF has established two schools and three colleges in Pakistan to provide education to the children of overseas Pakistanis. Source

For President Obama, earthquake charity begins at home

When will President Obama show some real courage on Haiti? When will he end the glaring double-standard in our government's treatment of that devastated nation?

The President should be commended for quickly dispatching a rescue operation for hundreds of thousands of Haitian victims of this week's earthquake and for pledging $100 million in relief aid.

But Obama has balked at issuing a simple order that could provide thousands of Haitian immigrants in this country the chance to help rebuild their homeland.

Read more;

HAITI: Earthquake disrupts key payments lifeline

The earthquake that struck Haiti Tuesday destroyed much of its telecommunications infrastructure. A few Western Union locations in Haiti had sporadic service by Friday, but the vast majority of them were inoperable.

By Allison Linn
Senior writer
updated 2:13 p.m. ET Jan. 15, 2010

The earthquake in Haiti has disrupted a key economic lifeline for many in this impoverished nation: Money sent from family members working elsewhere in the world back to their native country.

Such remittances, as they are called, totaled around $1.2 billion in 2009, according to estimates from the World Bank, and have equaled about 20 percent of the country’s GDP in recent years.

“In a sense it helps people keep their heads above the water,” said Robert Maguire, a Haiti specialist at Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Read More

PHILIPPINES: OFW remittances up 11.3% in November

MANILA, Philippines - Money sent home by Filipinos abroad accelerated to its fastest level in 14 months due to the continued deployment of skilled workers abroad, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr. reported yesterday.

Tetangco said remittances from overseas Filipinos grew by 11.3 percent to $1.459 billion in November last year from $1.311 billion in the same month in 2008.

He pointed out that this was the highest year-on-year expansion since October 2008 when overseas Filipino workers’ remittances jumped by 16.9 percent.

“The continued deployment of skilled Filipino workers abroad has remained the driving force behind the steady stream of remittance flows,” Tetangco said.

He added that the higher transfer of funds in November could also be partly attributed to the strong support of OFWs to the rebuilding efforts of families and relatives whose properties were damaged by tropical storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng.

Read more

Kenyan shilling stable vs dollar, eyes on

NAIROBI (Reuters) - The Kenyan shilling held steady against the dollar on Thursday and traders said any future gains would likely be limited by central bank buying of the U.S. currency.

At 0920 GMT, commercial banks quoted the local unit at 75.35/45, the same as Wednesday's close.

Traders said they saw the shilling in a 75.00-75.70 range in coming days.

"Both counters are well balanced and at the moment, what we are seeing is the bias remains for a stronger shilling, though CBK (Central Bank of Kenya) activity is limiting the shilling's appreciation," said a senior trader at one commercial bank.

The bank stayed out of the foreign exchange market on Thursday, but bought the U.S. currency in the previous session.

The central bank also said on Wednesday that remittances sent from Kenyans abroad in the first 11 months of last year fell by 3.2 percent to $553 million compared with a similar period in 2008.

Remittances are Kenya's third biggest source of foreign exchange after tourism and agricultural exports. Source

Africa: Leveraging the Impact of Remittances to Africa

Increasingly Africans living and working abroad are being called upon to take a more active role in the development of the continent. Some African countries have established Diaspora forums to engage the experience (and financial assistance) of these expatriates and migrants.

An often overlooked fact about the African Diaspora is that the amounts of money migrants send home to relatives and friends each year generally exceeds the amount of money given to Africa through official development aid.

Estimates of the average total annual value of remittances to Africa vary between $32 and $40 billion. (This excludes the informal network of money transfers, which is significant. If taken into account this figure could increase by as much as 50%.) Official development aid is around $25 billion per annum (according to promises issued during the G8 Summit). Read more

Saturday, 9 January 2010

GHANA: Educated Ghanaians look for jobs outside – Report

A growing number of educated Ghanaians are leaving the country in search of jobs in other lands, an International Organisation for Migration (IOM) report has found out.

The Ghana migration profile which was released Friday January 8, 2009 said trained Ghanaians are seeking jobs outside the country because of lack of employment opportunities for young people and “the decline of Nigeria as a major destination for Ghanaians.”

The report which covers 10 West African countries found that although 71% of Ghanaian migrants stay in West Africa, a growing number of Ghanaians are now to be found outside the region. Ghanaian migrants, according to the report can be found in 33 countries worldwide. Read more

INDIA: India to provide aid for foreign workers

By James Lamont in New Delhi

Published: January 9 2010 02:00 | Last updated: January 9 2010 02:00

India is readying an emergency social security system for workers who have lost their jobs overseas as a result of the global economic downturn.

Manmohan Singh, India's prime minister, yesterday said his government was taking steps to protect the country's expatriate workforce from the adverse effects of the economic crisis in their place of work and when they returned home. He pledged that their security was a top priority for his Congress party-led administration.

The measures reflect the severity with which this sector of the workforce has been affected over the past months in spite of recent assurances that credit woes in Dubai would not inflict too much damage on a big source of its labour. About 4.5m Indian workers are employed in the Gulf, half of them in the United Arab Emirates.
Read more

VIETNAM: Overseas remittances down 12.8%, says State Bank

Remittances by overseas Vietnamese for the home country totaled US$6.283 billion last year, a year on year drop of 12.8 percent, the State Bank of Vietnam said.

A State Bank report said the number did not drop significantly as forecast in the year of global economic downturn.

Last year, Ho Chi Minh City alone received from overseas Vietnamese remittances of US$3.2 billion.

Among the sums, the Foreign Trade Bank of Vietnam (Vietcombank) transmitted US$1.3 billion, US$100 million less than in 2008. HCM City-based Sacombank enjoyed a 10 percent increase in remittances, posting at US$850 million.

The money transfer company of DongA Bank reported a 15 percent decrease to US$1 billion. Company deputy director Trinh Hoai Nam said the amount of remittances increased considerably in December, as the global economy has already showed signs of recovery. Source

President asks NRIs to participate in India’s ‘unfolding’ growth story

President Pratibha Patil on Saturday called upon overseas Indians to participate and benefit in India’s “unfolding growth story.”

Delivering the valedictory address at the Pravasi Bhartiya Diwas on the day Mahatma Gandhi returned to India in 1915, the President pointed out that overseas Indians, estimated at over 250 lakhs, had come to be recognised as the ‘Knowledge Diaspora.’ With India making its investment environment more conducive, it was time this Indian community with its knowledge, expertise, skills and resources became an important input in “India’s march to becoming a developed country.”

India’s investment needs were over dollars 500 billions spanning both the social and physical infrastructure sectors and the country was looking at investment increasingly in the public-private partnership model. While the requirements in physical infrastructure were well documented, Ms. Patil drew attention to the social side with the government focusing on improving the quality of education at all levels and estimating an annual growth arte of about six per cent in healthcare infrastructure. Read more

Remittances From Abroad: A Tool For National Development

Remittances are defined as the monetary transfers that a migrant sends to his or her country of origin or, in other words, financial flows associated with migration. Most remittances are personal cash transfers from a migrant worker or immigrant to a relative in the country of origin. Some scholars and academics go further to add transfers of skills and technology, as well as “social remittances” (Baruah, 2006, in OSCE, IOM, ILO, 2007). Over the years, remittances have contributed to the economies of many countries which have led to rapid development especially in the areas of infrastructure, family wellbeing, among others.

Remittances sent back home by migrants are a powerful financial force in developing countries. It is estimated that after foreign direct investment and trade related earnings, remittances form the largest financial flow to developing countries, often far larger than official development assistance (Castles and Delgado, 2008, page 222). According to the balance of payments data, total transfers to the Ghanaian economy ranged between US$ 400 million in 2002. Of the total transfers, private unrequited transfers, increased from US$201.9 Million in 1990 to almost US$ 680Million in 2002(Manuh, 2005).Read more

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

e-Consultation on Migration and Rural Development: Second Series

Dear all,

With this message, we are pleased to inform you that we have concluded the first round of our e-consultation. We would like to thank those who sent their contributions. We also received relevant documents which you can view in our blog

Starting today, we will be sharing experiences and opinions on the theme Remittance Flows and their contribution to rural development.

The current global economic crisis highlighted the impact of remittances in developing countries. The data shows that in some countries remittances continue to perform better. The governments of Bangladesh and the Philippines acknowledged that without migrants’ contributions the country could have suffered more during the crisis. The Ugandan government plans to scrap visa fees it charges Ugandans in the Diaspora when coming back home. The government plans to create a fully-developed diaspora department to guide Diasporas on how to invest and succeed back home. These are latest initiatives in remittance-receiving countries to harness the potentials.

Enclosed you will find a brief background information and some guide questions. We encourage you to actively participate in the discussion which will run until January 20. We hope to get deeper insights on the contribution of remittance flows to rural development.

Please note that your contributions will be included in the summary which we will prepare at the end of the consultation.

If you are interested to join in the discussion group, please email: leila.wimler(at)

We wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and let us hope and work for a safer, greener, and better world.

Best regards,
On behalf of the organizers
Leila Rispens-Noel

Theme 2: Remittance Flows and their contribution to rural development

Remittances have become the second largest capital flow behind Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and ahead of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). In 2001, remittances represented 42% of total FDI flows and 260% of ODA; remittance flows have surpassed ODA since 1995. Today remittances constitute the fastest growing and most stable capital flow to developing countries. Remittances have more than doubled in value in the past decade and also grown faster than migration - a trend which is likely to continue. Thus, while FDI and ODA have occupied the limelight of development finance to date, remittances have made a quiet yet substantial contribution to international capital flows as well as to national balance of payments, forex reserves, and, especially, to the welfare of receiving households in developing countries .

A good proportion of remittance flows also originate in developing countries. The World Bank notes that these so-called South-South remittance flows make up between 30 and 45 percent of total remittances received by developing countries. In fact, remittance flows to poor countries actually originate largely in the middle-income developing countries. China, Malaysia, and the Russian Federation, for example, are among the top 20 sources of remittances .

Remittances and their investment are significantly hampered by inefficiencies and access barriers in financial systems and services, both in sending and receiving countries. It is estimated that on average one third of remittances flow through informal channels; for countries with weak financial sectors or tight forex controls, sending money via informal channels is more common .

Donors have begun to recognize the role of remittances and have become interested primarily in how to facilitate an increase of the flow and use of remittances for developmental benefits. This includes how to facilitate a reduction in transaction cost and better access to formal sector transfer services; as well as how to better integrate and improve access to a broader range of financial services through remittances as an ‘entry point’.


1) Are remittances a relatively large and stable source of funding for ACP countries? What do remittances generate at both micro and macro-economic levels?
2) What are the households’ uses of remittances?
3) Do remittances contribute to rural development? What concrete examples, best practices do we have in terms of contribution of remittances to productive resources and wealth creation in rural areas?
4) What examples can be shared as successes in investment in human and social capital (e.g., health care, nutrition, education) and in building assets (e.g., real estate, business, and savings)?
5) Has the financial crisis affected this source of income?

Chers Participants,

Nous avons le plaisir de vous informer que nous allons clôturer le premier thème de notre consultation électronique. Merci à tous ceux qui ont envoyé leurs contributions. Nous avons également reçu des documents intéressants sur le sujet, vous pouvez les consulter sur notre blog:

A partir d’aujourd’hui, nous allons partager nos expériences et nos points de vue sur le thème: Les transferts des migrants et leur contribution au développement rural.

A l’heure actuelle, la crise économique globale a mis en évidence l’impact de transferts des migrants sur les pays en développement. Les données montrent que dans certains pays les transferts d’argent continuent leur trend positif. Les gouvernements du Bangladesh et des Philippines ont reconnu que sans la contribution des transferts des migrants, leurs pays auraient beaucoup plus souffert lors de la crise. Le gouvernement ougandais a planifié d’annuler les coûts de visa pour la diaspora ougandaise qui rentre dans son pays d’origine. Le gouvernement vise à créer un département entièrement dédié à la Diaspora, afin de la guider dans ses investissements et ses chances de réussir dans son pays d’origine. Celles-ci sont seulement certaines des dernières initiatives développées par les pays de destination des transferts des migrants, pour en exploiter le potentiel.

Veuillez trouver ci-dessous une brève note d’introduction à cet argument et des questions clé.
Nous vous encourageons à participer activement à cette discussion, qui se poursuivra jusqu’au 20 janvier 2010, dans l’espoir d’améliorer notre compréhension de la contribution de ces transferts d’argent des migrants au développement rural.

Veuillez noter que vos contributions seront inclues dans le résumé que nous allons préparer à la fin de la consultation.

Nous vous souhaitons une très bonne nouvelle année 2010, dans l’espoir de contribuer à un monde meilleur, plus vert et avec une sécurité accrue.

Meilleures salutations,
Au nom des organisateurs,
Leila Rispens-Noel

Thème 2: Les transferts des migrants et leur contribution au développement rural

Les transferts de fonds sont devenus le deuxième plus important flux de capitaux après l'investissement direct étranger (IDE) et avant l’Aide Publique au Développement (APD). En 2001, les transferts de fonds représentaient 42% du total des flux d'IDE et 260% de l'APD; les flux de transfert de fonds ont dépassé l'APD depuis 1995. Aujourd'hui, les envois de fonds constituent un flux de capitaux vers les pays en développement en croissance rapide et stable. Les transferts ont plus que doublé en valeur dans la dernière décennie et ont également augmenté plus rapidement que la migration - une tendance qui devrait se poursuivre. Ainsi, alors que les IDE et l'APD ont représenté la partie la plus importante du financement au développement à ce jour, les envois de fonds ont apporté une contribution stable et substantielle aux flux internationaux de capitaux ainsi qu’à la balance nationale des paiements, aux réserves de changes, et surtout, au bien-être de ménages de destination dans les pays en développement .

Une bonne proportion des flux de transfert de fonds a son origine dans les pays en développement. La Banque mondiale note que les soi-disant transferts des migrants Sud-Sud représentent entre 30 et 45% du montant total des transferts reçus par les pays en développement. En fait, les flux de transferts vers les pays pauvres proviennent très largement des pays en développement à revenu intermédiaire. Par exemple, la Chine, la Malaisie et la Russie figurent parmi les 20 principales sources de transferts de fonds .

Les envois de fonds et leurs investissements sont sensiblement entravés par les carences et les obstacles liées à l'accès aux systèmes et services financiers, tant dans les pays d'envoi que de réception. On estime qu’en moyenne un tiers de transferts de fonds passe par des voies informelles; pour les pays avec un secteur financier fragile ou de contrôles des changes serrés, l'envoi d'argent via des canaux informels est plus courant .

Les bailleurs de fonds ont commencé à reconnaître le rôle des transferts de fonds et se sont intéressés principalement aux moyens de faciliter une augmentation de flux et de les utiliser pour des objectifs de développement. Cela comprend une réduction des coûts de transaction et un meilleur accès aux services de transfert du secteur formel, ainsi qu’une meilleure intégration et l’accès à un plus large éventail de services financiers à travers les transferts de fonds comme «point d'entrée».


1) Les transferts de fonds constituent-ils une source relativement importante et stable de financement pour les pays ACP? Qu'engendrent les transferts de fonds au niveau micro et macro-économique?
2) Comment les ménages destinataires emploient-ils les fonds transférés?
3) Les transferts de fonds contribuent-ils au développement rural? Quels exemples concrets/meilleures pratiques avons-nous en termes de contribution des transferts de fonds aux ressources productives et à la création de richesses dans les zones rurales?
4) Avez-vous quelques exemples à partager de succès dans l'investissement en capital humain et social (par exemple: soins de santé, nutrition, éducation) et dans la création d’un patrimoine (par exemple, l'immobilier, le secteur commercial, différentes formes d'épargne)?
5) Est-ce que la crise financière a affecté cette source de revenu?

VIETNAM: Remittances From Abroad Fall 20 Per Cent In 2009

HANOI, Jan 4 (Bernama) -- Remittances into Vietnam in 2009 are expected to fall considerably against 2008, but investment has remained buoyant despite the global economic recession, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported Monday.

Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy head of the State Bank of Vietnam's HCM City branch, said remittances into Vietnam through banks and agents in HCM City were worth about US$3.2 billion this year, down 20 per cent against 2008.

Le Duc Thuy, chairman of the National Financial Supervison Commission, said that a reduction in remittances in 2009 was unavoidable, due partly to rising unemployment in countries where Vietnamese expats live.

It is estimated that total remittances into the country in 2009 may reach US$6-6.8 billion, down from US$7.2 billion in 2008. Read more

Mexican Remittances Fall at Lowest Rate in 8 Months

By Crayton Harrison

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Mexican remittances fell 14 percent in November, the smallest decline in eight months, as U.S. job cuts slowed.

Money sent from workers living outside Mexico declined to $1.5 billion in November from $1.75 billion in the same month a year earlier, the central bank said today on its Web site. It was the smallest decline since a 0.55 percent drop in March.

Mexicans in the U.S. may have benefited as U.S. job losses reached their lowest in 23 months, signaling that the economic recovery is pulling the labor market out of its slump. Employers cut 11,000 jobs in November, bringing the total decline in the U.S. job market to 7.2 million jobs since December 2007.

The decline in remittances to Mexico peaked in October with a record 36 percent drop from a year earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Crayton Harrison in Mexico City at


Bangladesh 2009 Remittances Were More Than $10 Billion Read more

Siddique Islam - AHN Correspondent

Dhaka, Bangladesh (AHN) - Bangladeshis working abroad sent home a record $10.72 billion in 2009, as remittances continued to scale new heights despite the global meltdown, officials told AHN Media on Monday.

They said the amount is 19.39 percent higher than what the country's more than six million workers had remitted in the previous 2008 calendar year.

The remittances from Bangladeshi nationals working abroad were estimated at $876.33 million in December, which was a drop of $174.21 million from the previous month. In November 2009, the remittances stood at $1.050 billion, according to the central bank statistics, released on Monday.

"The flow of remittances is still at a satisfactory level," a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country's central bank, told AHN in Dhaka, adding that the inflow of remittances normally fall after the Eid-ul-Azha festival.

Read more

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Poor nations seen to get lower inflows

MANILA, Philippines - A study by the World Bank is projecting that remittance flows to developing countries will reach $317 billion in 2009, down by 6.1 percent from the $338 billion in 2008. The projection was based on data for the first three quarters of 2009.

The WB study forecasts that remittances will expand by 1.4 percent in 2010, and by 3.9 percent in 2011.

“Economic growth is beginning to recover after the global slump that began in 2008. But growth will remain weak in 2010 and 2011, and is unlikely to reach the brisk pace seen before the crisis,” it said.

According to the bank, one risk is that the crisis could last longer than expected.

“The emerging recovery in construction and other sectors in the US may not be sustained after the effects of the stimulus package wears out,” the study noted.

Read more

VIETNAM: Remittances from abroad fall 20% in 2009

HA NOI — Remittances into Viet Nam in 2009 are expected to fall considerably against 2008, but investment has remained buoyant despite the global economic recession.

Nguyen Hoang Minh, deputy head of the State Bank of Viet Nam’s HCM City branch, said remittances into Viet Nam through banks and agents in HCM City were worth about US$3.2 billion this year, down 20 per cent against 2008.

Le Duc Thuy, chairman of the National Financial Supervison Commission, said that a reduction in remittances in 2009 was unavoidable, due partly to rising unemployment in countries where Vietnamese expats live. Read more

Friday, 1 January 2010


We wish everyone a peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year!

Diaspora Journey

Bangladesh economy shows its mettle in 2009 amid global recession

DHAKA, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh economy showed its mettle in 2009 when it passed one of the toughest tests triggered by the global financial meltdown, which significantly impacted performances in the major Asian nations and most of the developed countries, officials said Thursday.

They said almost all the major sectors including exports, imports, remittance and the stock market of the South Asian country have performed well in 2009 despite the shocks of global recession.

The country's central bank Thursday said Bangladesh attained a 5.9 percent GDP (gross domestic product) growth in the first half of the current fiscal year 2009-10 (July 2009-June 2010), leaving six more months to achieve the 6 percent target.

"Our GDP target growth will be achieved by the end of the fiscal year as all the key indicators of the economy are showing positive trend," Bangladesh Bank (BB) governor Atiur Rahman told reporters Thursday. Read more

UGANDA: Government plans to scrap Diaspora visa fees

The government plans to scrap visa fees it charges Ugandans in the Diaspora when coming back home.

At a two-day Diaspora Summit held in Kampala, State Minister for Internal Affairs Okello Oryem said: “The Immigration department will design special stickers and in that case you will not be charged visa fees when you come back home because you’re citizens.”

According to records from the Immigration Office, people who were formerly Ugandans are charged $400 (Shs760,000) as visa fee.

The scrapping of the visa fee is part of the government’s new strategy that will manage pertinent issues affecting Ugandans living in the Diaspora like harassment and their legitimacy to stay in the respective countries where they live.

“A fully-developed diaspora department will also help guide you on how to invest and succeed back home. In the past Ugandan embassies have been a no-go area for the Diaspora but this is going to change,” he added. Read more

‘Pakistan Must Recognise Expatriates’ Remittances’

Mohammad Abdul Qudoos

31 December 2009
DUBAI - Pakistani community organisations overseas have to launch a united campaign for the promotion of foreign investment in their home country, a House of Lords member of Pakistani origin said.

Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham told a community gathering on Tuesday that the Pakistani government should, at the same time, frame policies to encourage overseas Pakistanis to invest back home.

Many people in the UK want to invest in Pakistan, they need encouragement and the respect they deserve, he said.

“Overseas Pakistanis remit as much as $9 billion annually to their home country, but their government salutes the US for giving a mere $1.5 billion a year,” Lord Nazir said.

“We should do everything to promote investment in Pakistan and say ‘No’ to terrorism,” he said. Read more

LEBANON: World Bank sees 9 percent decline in outward remittances from GCC in 2009

Growth expected to rebound in 2010 after period of economic protraction

BEIRUT: According to the World Bank, cash transfers from the GCC are expected to slow down in 2009 before picking up again in 2010 due to a projected improvement in oil prices and better global economic prospects. The World Bank said the slowdown in 2009 is due to slackening economies and layoffs from private and public sector companies. The World Bank report was published by Bank Audi’s MENA Weekly Monitor.

The World Bank forecasts a decline of around 9 percent in remittances from GCC this year due to drop in economic activity and higher cost of living. However, there are emerging signs of a bottoming out and the economies reviving.

According to the revised projections by the World Bank, global economic growth is expected to rebound to 2 percent in 2010 and 3.2 percent by 2011 after an expected contraction of 2.9 percent 2009. Read more