Migrants from developing countries send home $351b in 2011 – World Bank

Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to have reached $351 billion in 2011, up 8% over 2010 figures, the World Bank said citing its Migration and Development Brief released December 1, 2011.

“This rate of increase is higher than our earlier forecast of 7.3%,” said the Bank.

Top recipients of remittances are India ($58 billion), China ($57 billion), Mexico ($24 billion), and the Philippines ($23 billion).

Other large recipients include Pakistan ($12 billion), Bangladesh ($12 billion), Nigeria ($11 billion), Vietnam ($9 billion), Egypt ($8 billion) and Lebanon ($8 billion), data in the brief showed.

The Bank said for the first time since the global financial crisis, remittance flows to all six developing regions rose in 2011.

“Remittance flows to four of the six World Bank-designated developing regions grew faster than expected — by 11% to Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 10.1% to South Asia, 7.6% to East Asia and Pacific and 7.4% to sub-Saharan Africa, despite the difficult economic conditions in Europe and other destinations of African migrants.”

But in contrast, the Washington-based institution noted growth in remittance flows to Latin America and Caribbean was lower than previously expected, due to continuing weakness in the US economy and Spain.

According to the Bank, worldwide recorded remittance flows, including flows to high-income countries, are estimated to have reached $483 billion in 2011.

The Bank however expects a 7-8% annual rise in remittance flows to developing countries by 2014.  It estimates $441 billion by 2014 while worldwide remittance flows (including those to high-income countries) are expected to exceed $590 billion by 2014.

It also noted that cost of sending money home has fallen steadily from 8.8% in 2008 to 7.3% in the third quarter of 2011 but still “high, especially in Africa and in small nations where remittances provide a life line to the poor.”

By Ekow Quandzie

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