Migration and Development Brief

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Migration and Development Briefs are prepared by the Migration and Remittances Unit, Development Economics (DEC). The brief aims to provide an update on key developments in the area of migration and remittance flows and related policies over the past six months. It also provides medium-term projections of remittance flows to developing countries. A special topic is included in each brief. The brief is produced twice a year.

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  • Publication
    Outlook for Remittance Flows 2012-14 : Remittance Flows to Developing Countries Exceed $350 Billion in 2011
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2011-12-01) Mohapatra, Sanket; Ratha, Dilip; Silwal, Ani
    Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to have reached $351 billion in 2011, up 8 percent over 2010. For the first time since the global financial crisis, remittance flows to all six developing regions rose in 2011. Growth of remittances in 2011 exceeded our earlier expectations in four regions, especially in Europe and Central Asia (due to higher outward flows from Russia that benefited from high oil prices) and Sub-Saharan Africa (due to strong south-south flows and weaker currencies in some countries that attracted larger remittances). By contrast, growth in remittance flows to Latin America and Caribbean was lower than previously expected, due to continuing weakness in the U.S. economy and Spain. Remittance costs have fallen steadily from 8.8 percent in 2008 to 7.3 percent in the third quarter of 2011. However, remittance costs continue to remain high, especially in Africa and in small nations where remittances provide a life line to the poor.
  • Publication
    Remittance Trends 2007
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2007-11) Ratha, Dilip; Vijayalakshmi, K. M.; Xu, Zhimei
    This note describes broad regional and country specific trends in remittance flows worldwide, and highlights some structural changes that will affect remittance flows in the future. The main messages are: remittance flows to Latin America and the Caribbean slowed on the back of a weakening U.S. economy and tighter enforcement of immigration laws. Nevertheless, the growth of remittances to developing countries remains robust because of strong growth in Europe and Asia. The remittance industry is experiencing some positive structural changes with the advent of cell phone and internet-based remittance instruments. These changes may have profound effects on remittance flows to previously underserved areas. The diffusion of these structural changes, however, is slowed by a lack of clarity on key regulations (including those relating to money laundering and other financial crimes). Remittance costs have fallen, but not far enough, especially in the South-South corridors.