The key role of migrants, and the tremendous impact that remittances have on their families and communities back home, is well highlighted in the UNSGSA – H.E. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands – 2015 Annual Report to the Secretary-General, “Financial Inclusion – creating an inclusive world”. As stated in the Report:
For migrants who leave home looking for better opportunities, the safe and affordable financial tools needed to stabilize their lives and help their families at home are often out of reach, on both the sending and receiving ends. This past year the urgent needs of these populations gained wide attention around the globe. More than 240 million people live outside their countries of birth, and last year migrants sent an estimated $440 billion in remittances back home to developing countries, a sum that surpassed foreign direct investment and represented inflows four times greater than official development assistance. But the high average cost of remittances takes a sizeable bite out of their value—and their development impact. “Reducing these costs from the current average of eight percent to three percent would translate into huge savings of over $20 billion annually for migrants and their relatives,” the Special Advocate said in Milan at the International Day of Family Remittances. The ability of migrants to send funds back home safely and affordably was set back recently as providers began to withdraw from the remittance business in response to regulations aimed at preventing money laundering and terrorism financing. In speeches and conversations throughout the year, Queen Máxima reinforced calls for a risk-based approach on the part of regulators, as encouraged by the Financial Action Task Force, striking a balance between the needs of migrant families and concerns related to financial crimes. “Given the size of remittance flows, whatever progress we make will have an outsized benefit,” she said in Milan. “We need to get this right.”
Download the report here.