News / Africa

Global Financial Crisis Affects Remittances to Africa

Africans in the Diaspora send less money to families at home

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

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 Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid