C-19 has squeezed migrants’remittances

FIVE YEARS ago the UN proclaimed June 16th the International Day of Family Remittances. Since then money sent home by migrant workers has only become more important. In 2019 remittances amounted to $554bn, beating all other forms of cross-border financial flows to poor countries (see chart). Some 200m expatriate workers worldwide help four times as many relatives meet basic needs, set up businesses or pay school fees. These flows, on average, make up 60% of recipients’ family income; in the eight largest receiving countries, they are the sole source of cash for about a fifth of households.
This year, on June 16th, a task-force led by the UN, World Bank and other multilateral bodies released a report assessing the impact of covid-19 on remittances. The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the flow of money. The World Bank estimates that total remittances to developing countries could drop by a record 20% this year, to $445bn. In El Salvador and Nepal, where remittances typically amount to more than a fifth of GDP, flows fell by 40% and 51% in April, compared with the same month last year. At the same time—a small consolation of potentially great long-term importance—the pandemic has shown the potential benefits, to both workers and their families, of the digitisation of payments.

Continue Reading at:The Economist

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