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November 14, 2010

World Bank Says Remittances Growing Again

by Mil Arcega

The World Bank says that the amounts of money that people who live outside their countries of birth are transfering home to developing countries is again on the rise after a steep decline during the recession.  

For some families in developing countries - money from relatives overseas is a critical lifeline.

And the World Bank says these remittances are rising again after a big decline last year.

Hans Timmer is director of Development Prospects at the World Bank.

"Very important advantage of remittances is that it goes directly to households and often households that need it most," said Hans Timmer.

Worldwide, total remittances are expected to reach $440 billion by the end of the year - up nearly $25 billion from 2009.  
About three quarters of that will go directly to developing countries.

"Remittances are very important because of their size; remittances are at the moment some $325 billion to developing countries," he said. "That is three times as large as official development aid. It is almost as large as all the foreign investment together."

Remittance flows to developing countries are expected to rise further, to more than $370 billion by 2012.
By far, the biggest recipients are families in sub-Saharan Africa, followed by India, China, Mexico and the Philippines.

"And that means that suddenly families have surplus money that they can use for education of their kids," said Timmer. "They have surplus money that they can invest in small business. They can also open banking accounts now because they have foreign money."

Despite signs of a global recovery, the study says uncertain currency movements and a tightening of immigration quotas around the world still pose a significant risk to recipients of foreign money.
The most remittances come from people living in the United States, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland and Germany.