Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to grow significantly in the coming years to about $39 billion by 2015.
According to the World Bank’s latest edition of the Migration and Development Brief, remittances to the region have been recovering from contraction associated with the global financial crisis, but growth has been modest.
‘In 2012, the region was estimated to have received about $31 billion in remittances, a 1 percent increase over 2011,’ the brief said.
The report stated that Nigeria was the largest recipient of remittances in the region accounting for about 67 percent of the inflows to the region in 2012 followed by Senegal and Kenya.
In Ghana, remittances amounted to $18.7 billion in 2012 according to the Bank of Ghana (BoG).
The amount was remitted through banks.
The World Bank estimated that global remittances, including those to high-income countries, reached $514 billion in 2012, compared to $132 billion in 2000, indicating that remittances to developing countries more than quadrupled since 2000.
According to the World Bank report, officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries grew by 5.3 percent to reach an estimated $401 billion in 2012.
The brief mentioned that the top recipients of officially recorded remittances for 2012 were India ($69 billion), China ($60 billion), the Philippines ($24 billion), Mexico ($23 billion), as well as Nigeria and Egypt ($21 billion each).
Other large recipients included Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Lebanon.
As a percentage of GDP, the top recipients of remittances in 2011 were Tajikistan (47 percent), Liberia (31 percent), Kyrgyz Republic (29 percent), Lesotho (27 percent), Moldova (23 percent), Nepal (22 percent), and Samoa (21 percent).
The report said remittances to developing countries are expected to grow by an annual average of 8.8 percent for the next three years and are forecast to reach $515 billion in 2015.
The World Bank noted that since many migrants send money and goods through people or informal channels, the true size of remittances are much larger than the officially recorded figures.
In a related development, the World Bank has launched its Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), which is envisioned to become a global hub of knowledge and policy expertise on migration issues.
KNOMAD was initiated in response to the rapid growth in migration and remittances over the last decade.
Nearly one billion people (one out of every seven persons on the planet) have migrated internally and across international borders in search of better opportunities and living conditions with profound implications for development.
By Cephas Larbi