The Economic Commission for Africa (office for North Africa) and the Economic Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)will organize on 1-2 February in the Morocco capital Rabat an international seminar on migrants’ remittances in Arab and North African countries and their impact on development.
During this event, experts and officials from a number of countries including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen will compare their national experiences and policies in relation to migrants’ remittances and savings, and their impact on development.
The money migrants send to their families back home often consist in small amounts generally used to cover everyday expenses (food, health, education) however, a number of experts view them as powerful tools in the fight against poverty. Despite the global economic crisis, fund transfers have been relatively more resilient than other resource flows such as equity or foreign direct investment. With a total migrant population estimated at 24 million, migration from and remittances sent to Arab countries have grown significantly over the past decade.
However, official figures underestimate the number of migrants from these countries as a considerable number of them do not register at the consulates of their home countries.
“Countries have much to gain from better knowing and orienting their migrants’ remittances as they are less dependent on the economic context than ODA or FDI. They are also expected to pass the 700 billion dollar mark on the global level this year”, said Nassim Oulmane, Director a.i. of the ECA office in North Africa.
“Migrants’ remittances to the region have increased steadily for the past 15 years from about dlrs 10 billion in 2000 to dlrs 51.4 billion in 2014. The Arab region represents around 12% of overall remittances to developing countries. On average, remittances sent to the Arab region represent 6% of its GDP. More strikingly, remittances in the Arab region have been larger than all FDI and ODA flows combined since 2010”, explained Khaled Hussein, Economic Advisor at ESCWA.
This international Seminar concludes a UN project launched in 2014 to raise awareness about the significant impact of remittances on the development of their countries of origin and their huge potential for business. ESCWA and ECA have carried out six workshops and eight country studies as part of this project, training more than 400 government officials and bankers and facilitating the exchange of experiences and expertise between them.