News / Africa

Global Financial Crisis Affects Remittances to Africa

Africans in the Diaspora send less money to families at home

Multimedia

Audio

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. 

Many of them do not know about the intricacies of global finance.  “They are not aware of global financial trends and how they impact them,” says Nassi Agaba, a young African woman living in the United States.  She is sending less money back home after being laid off from her job as a consultant with a local firm.

Few African economists foresaw the downturn.  A few months into the financial crisis, Rwandan finance minister James Musoni said he was optimistic that his country and indeed the whole East African economic bloc were sheltered from the pitfalls of any global crisis.

Among those having trouble supporting family members at home is Robert Kayinamura, the legal advisor and public relations officer for the Rwanda International Network Association (RNIA), based in Washington, DC.  He has had to cut back on the amount of money he sends to support his extended family in East Africa.

“The prices of commodities in the USA have gone up.  If you used to purchase groceries at $100, but today it is $200, that means it has affected how much you can send home,” he says.  It means, he says,  that “in one way or the other it is affecting you here, but at the same time it is affecting people back home.”

“New immigrants from Africa usually work for small- and medium-sized companies, which are closing today or are laying off employees,” Kayinamura says.  Many recent arrivals work in these small companies and “if these small companies lay off or close, guess who is affected first?  It is the immigrants,”  he says.

And it’s especially hard for them, he says, because most don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. 

It’s also difficult for college or university graduates. Thousands of African students graduate each year from American colleges. They expect to enter the job market locally or return home to their countries to find work readily available.  But statistics show the jobless rate among college graduates has more than doubled from a year ago to 4.3 percent.

The job applications of many African students are rejected even by the few companies that are willing to hire new college graduates.  Most companies are reluctant to hire an African graduate because of the H1-B, (temporary worker) visa requirement.  The process is often long and costly to the company, so they prefer to hire Americans in order to avoid the process.

In Africa itself, many young people depend on relatives abroad to fund their education, and they, too, are taking a hit.

Reports show that in 2007 sub-Saharan Africa received almost $12 billion from Africans in the Diaspora.  Remittances usually make up a significant chunk of the local economy. 
 

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid