Saturday, November 25, 2017

Remittances to developing countries decline for second straight year: World Bank report

  • News Desk,
    Published: 2017-04-21 20:58:54 BdST


Remittances to developing countries fell for a second consecutive year in 2016, a trend not seen in three decades, according to a report by the World Bank.

Remittances to developing countries fell by 2.4 percent between 2015 and 2016, from $440 billion to $429 billion, according to the latest Migration and Development Brief which was presented at the World Bank’s Spring Meetings on Friday.

Bangladesh, a major receiver of remittances, saw a decline of 11.1 percent in that period, while the South Asian region as a whole saw a 6.4 percent decrease.

The report cites low oil prices and weak growth in Europe, the Russian Federation and the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) as the primary factors responsible for the dip in remittance flows.

Bangladesh’s remittance flows were likely affected by the low oil prices and fiscal tightening in GCC countries, the global lender said.

India, which retained its position as the largest recipient of remittances, saw an 8.9 percent decline, from $68.9 billion in 2015 to $62.7 billion in 2016.

Nepal also saw a contraction of 6.7 percent, but Pakistan saw a modest growth of 2.8 percent.

“Remittances are an important source of income for millions of families in developing countries. As such, a weakening of remittance flows can have a serious impact on the ability of families to get health care, education or proper nutrition,” said Rita Ramalho, Acting Director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group.

But, the report says, if global economic forecasts hold true, remittances to developing nations should rise by an estimated 3.3 percent in 2017, with a modest 2 percent increase for the South Asia region.