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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid