The Migration and Development Brief (April 2019) by the World Bank provides updates on global trends in migration and remittances and validates the projections made in the previous Brief in December 2018. The report highlights developments related to migration-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators for which the World Bank is a custodian: increasing the volume of remittances as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), reducing remittance costs, and reducing recruitment costs for migrant workers. It also presents recent developments on the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), reports Trend citing to news.tj
In 2019, annual remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are likely to reach $550 billion, according to the report. That would make remittance flows larger than foreign direct investment (FDI) and official development assistance (ODA) flows to LMICs. In 2018, remittance flows to LMICs reached $529 billion, an increase of 9.6 percent over 2017. Remittance flows grew in all six regions, particularly in South Asia (12.3 percent) and Europe and Central Asia (11.2 percent). Growth was reportedly driven by a stronger economy and employment situation in the United States and a rebound in outward flows from some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation.
The report says the global average cost of sending remittances remained at about 7 percent in the first quarter of 2019, roughly the same level as in recent quarters.
In 2018, in current U.S. dollar terms, the top five remittance recipient countries were India, China, Mexico, the Philippines, and Egypt. As a share of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2018, the top five recipients were smaller economies: Tonga, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Haiti, and Nepal.
The report says that after posting 22 percent growth in 2017, remittances to Europe and Central Asia (ECA) grew by an estimated 11.2 percent to $59 billion in 2018. Continued growth in economic activity increased outbound remittances from Poland, Russia, Spain, and the United States—major sources for remittances for the region. Smaller remittance-dependent countries in the region, such as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, have particularly benefited from the sustained rebound of economic activity in Russia, the primary destination of low-skilled migrants from these countries.
As a share of GDP, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are still leading the ECA countries, at about 35.1 percent and 32.2 percent, as remittances remained by far the biggest source of foreign currency earnings for these countries.
The report notes that 2.3 billion U.S. dollars were remitted to Tajikistan last year and the country’s GDP in 2018 stood at more than 7.3 billion U.S. dollars.
Meanwhile, according to data provided by Russia’s central bank, private persons sent more than 2.5 billion U.S. dollars from Russian to Tajikistan through money transfer systems, which was equal to 37 percent of Tajikistan’s GDP. Russia remains the main destination country for Tajik labor migrants.