Remittances are being squeezed

Remittance flows – the funds migrant workers send to their families back home – are projected to make their sharpest decline in history thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. And the disruption threatens to push millions of poor families deeper into poverty, the United Nations has warned in the run-up to the International Day of Family Remittances.

Every year, some 200 million migrants send funds to 800 million family members back home. Half the funds go to rural communities, where poverty and hunger are rampant and where the money helps families access food, healthcare and education. But this that vital lifeline is forecast to fall by more than $100bn as the coronavirus crisis upends livelihoods around the globe.

Remittance flows to low and middle-income countries are estimated to drop by up to 20 percent to $445bn in 2020, from $554bn in 2019, according to April estimates by the World Bank.

This loss of income has a ripple effect on poor households around the world, and particularly in rural communities.

“Remittances account for over 10 percent of the gross domestic product in 30 countries in the world and for more than 5 percent of grosss domestic product for at least 60 low-and-middle-income countries,” said Asako Okai, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Assistant Administrator and Director of its Crisis Bureau.

“Without this money, investments and consumption drop, while poverty and inequality become entrenched,” she added.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is appealing to world leaders and “people everywhere” to support migrants during this unprecedented time when millions have lost their livelihoods and the ability to provide life-sustaining funds to their families in home countries.
Read More at: Aljazeera

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