Small and low-income countries like Nepal, Tajikistan, Lesotho, Samoa and Tonga tend to receive more remittances as a share of their gross domestic product (GDP), according to the latest issue of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief, released today at the fifth meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in Geneva.
However, India is expected to lead as the highest remittance receiving country with $58 billion followed by China ($57 billion), Mexico ($24 billion) and the Philippines ($23 billion).
The developing countries are expected to receive a total of $351 billion in foreign remittances in 2011 up by eight per cent over 2010, the World Bank said in its report.In all, worldwide remittances — including those to high-income countries — will reach $406 billion in the current calendar year. Following the rebound in 2011, the growth of remittance flows to developing countries is expected to continue at a rate of seven to eight per cent annually to reach $441 billion by 2014. Worldwide remittance flows, including those to high-income countries, are expected to exceed $515 billion by 2014 despite the economic slowdown that is dampening employment prospects for migrant workers in some high-income countries.
"Other large recipients include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Vietnam, Egypt and Lebanon," according to a newly updated report.
“Despite the global economic crisis that has impacted private capital flows, remittance flows to developing countries have remained resilient, posting an estimated growth of eight per cent in 2011,” the director of the bank’s Development Prospects Group Hans Timmer, said, adding that remittance flows to all developing regions have grown this year, for the first time since the financial crisis.
The bank said high oil prices have helped provide a cushion for remittances to Central Asia from Russia and to South and East Asia from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.Similarly, a depreciation of currencies of some large migrant-exporting countries — including Mexico, India, Nepal and Bangladesh — created additional incentives for remittances as goods and services in these countries became cheaper in US dollar terms.
The Nepali rupee is hovering around Rs 83 vis-à-vis US dollar giving boost to the remittance inflow. Nepal received Rs 75.88 billion in workers' remittances — an increment by 28.3 per cent — in the first three months of current fiscal year (mid-October) against the same period last fiscal year.
Remittance flows to four of the six World Bank-designated developing regions grew faster than expected — by 11 per cent to Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 10.1 per cent to South Asia, 7.6 per cent to East Asia and the Pacific and 7.4 per cent to Sub-Saharan Africa, despite the difficult economic conditions in Europe and other destinations for African migrants, the bank said, forecasting a continued growth in remittance flows by 7.3 per cent in 2012, 7.9 per cent in 2013 and 8.4 per cent in 2014.
Remittance flows would receive a further boost if the global development community achieves the agreed objective of reducing global average remittance costs by 5 percentage points in five years under the ‘5 by 5’ objective of the G8 and G20, the bank said. "The remittance costs have also fallen steadily from 8.8 per cent in 2008 to 7.3 per cent in the third quarter of 2011. However, remittance costs continue to remain high, especially in Africa and in small nations like Nepal, where remittances provide a life line to the poor.
"There is a pressing need to improve data on remittances at the national and bilateral corridor level to more accurately monitor progress towards the ‘5 by 5’ remittance cost reduction objective," the bank added.