Friday, November 12, 2010

Diaspora Remittances Up, But Tanzania`s Share Still Small

Africa to get USD21.5bn this year

Remittance flows to sub-Saharan Africa will reach USD21.5bn this year after a small decrease in 2009 due to the global financial crisis, a World Bank study published on Tuesday said.

Despite the increase, Tanzania is not among the top ten African countries likely to benefit most from the remittances.

According to Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011, a World Bank publication that tracks documented private transfers of funds and migratory patterns around the world, Africa-bound flows fell by about 4 percent between 2008 and 2009, marking the first decrease since 1995.

"We estimate that recovery will continue over the next two years, with remittance flows to the continent possibly reaching about 24 billion dollars by 2012," said Dilip Ratha, manager of the Migration and Remittances unit at the World Bank.

Ratha cautioned that these numbers are gross underestimates because millions of Africans rely on informal channels to send money home.

Remittances to Kenya will reach an estimated USD1.7bn in 2010, which is slightly more than money sent to the country the previous year. "Remittances are a critical lifeline for families and entire communities across Africa, especially in the aftermath of the global crisis," Ratha said. "The fact that remittances are so large, come in foreign currency, and go directly to households, means that these transfers have a significant impact on poverty reduction, funding for housing and education, basic essential needs, and even business investments."

Worldwide, remittance flows are expected to reach USD440bn by the end of 2010, up from 416bn in 2009.

About three-quarters of these funds, or USD325bn, will go to developing countries.

The World Bank estimated that flows to developing countries as a whole will rise further over the next two years, possibly exceeding USD370bn by 2012.

According to the study, there is a pressing need to make it easier and cheaper to send and receive remittances in Africa.

The average cost of sending money to Africa is more than 10 percent, the highest among all the regions. The cost of sending money within Africa is even higher.

In absolute dollars, Nigeria is by far the top remittance recipient in Africa, accounting for USD10bn in 2010, a slight increase over the previous year (USD9.6bn).

Other top recipients include Sudan (3.2 billion dollars), Senegal (1.2 billion dollars), South Africa (1.0 billion dollars), Uganda (0.8 billion dollars), Lesotho (0.5 billion dollars), Ethiopia (387 million dollars), Mali (385 million dollars) and Togo (302 million dollars).

As a share of gross domestic product, the top recipients in 2009 were: Lesotho (25 percent), Togo (10 percent), Cape Verde (9 percent), Guinea-Bissau (9 percent), Senegal (9 percent), Gambia (8 percent), Liberia (6 percent), Sudan (6 percent), Nigeria (6 percent), and Kenya (5 percent).

The book estimated that nearly 22 million Sub-Saharan Africans have left the continent.

Africa also has a higher intra-regional migration rate than the rest of the developing world, with three out of four African migrants living in another country in sub-Saharan Africa.

In general, islands and fragile or conflict-afflicted states have the highest rates of skilled emigrants.

Nationals who attended university and left their country the most are from Cape Verde (68 percent), Gambia (63 percent), Mauritius (56 percent), Seychelles (56 percent), Sierra Leone (53 percent), Ghana (47 percent), Mozambique (45 percent), Liberia (45 percent), Kenya (38 percent), and Uganda (36 percent).

Africa's most dynamic migration corridors are Burkina Faso–Cote d'Ivoire (1.3 million migrants), Zimbabwe–South Africa (0.9 million), and Cote d'Ivoire–Burkina Faso (0.8 million).

Others include Uganda–Kenya, Eritrea–Sudan, Mozambique–South Africa, Mali–Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo– Rwanda, Lesotho–South Africa, and Eritrea–Ethiopia.

Nearly 460,000 Kenyans are living outside the country in 2010. Among the tertiary- educated population, 38 percent are living outside Kenya as of 2000.

The top destination countries for migrants from Kenya are Britain, Tanzania, the United States, Uganda, Canada, Australia, Germany, India, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.

It is estimated that over 800,000 non-Kenyans are living in Kenya in 2010, primarily migrants from Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Somalia, and Ethiopia.

Migration and Remittances Factbook 2011 is the second edition of an initial volume issued in 2008. The Factbook relies on data publicly available from reliable sources.

As a result, data on some important migration corridors - for example, from Zimbabwe to South Africa, are not adequately covered in the book, it says.


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