Latest financial report from the UN reveals that countries in Asia are the biggest recipients of remittances from foreign lands. The list is led by India, China, Philippines and Pakistan for the year 2016.
Foreign workers from neighboring Asian countries have a huge expat population living in the UAE, UK, USA and other . It is considered to be among the major sources of global remittances. Globally, there are about 200 million expatriates supporting 800 million of their family members in their home countries.
United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) published its latest annual report this month.
The list is topped by two of the most populated countries in the world. India was confirmed as the highest remittance receiving country from citizens living abroad. A total of $62.7 billion were transferred from foreign countries to India through official and traceable channels. India is followed by China, which received $61 billion during 2016.
The list of top recipients of money transfers in 2016 can be seen below:
- India – $ 62.7 billion
- China – $61 billion
- Philippines – $29.9 billion
- Mexico – $28.5 billion
- Pakistan – $19.8 billion
- Nigeria – $19 billion
- Egypt – $16.6 billion
- Bangladesh – $13.7 billion
- Guatemala – $7.4 billion
- Lebanon – $7.3 billion
Pedro de Vasconcelos, manager of IFAD’s financing facility for remittances and lead author of the report said, “This money is spent on food, health care, better educational opportunities and improved housing and sanitation. Remittances are therefore critical to help developing countries achieve the sustainable development goals.”
According to the report, money sent back by expats, belonging to the Asia and Pacific region, increased by 87 percent over the past ten years, reaching $244 billion. Transaction costs to send remittances exceed $30 billion annually, particularly due to the high fees in transferring money to poor countries and remote rural areas.
Pakistan’s Remittances over the years
Reduction in oil prices hasn’t affected Pakistani workers living abroad and a huge majority continues to work overseas despite deteriorating global conditions. World Bank had predicted a slowdown in remittance flows to Pakistan, stating that the firm doesn’t believe that the volume of those remittances would decline. The publicly available data certainly seems to support their predictions.
Remittances stood at only $1.08 billion back in the year 2000 but rapid double digit growth has seen Pakistan shore up its foreign exchange reserves. A rise in foreign workers has been the major reason behind this growth. Foreign money transfers hold great importance for Pakistan since its exports continue to decline under the current government.
Gilbert Houngbo, IFAD Chief, noted the importance of small remittances sent back to families and said:
“It is not about the money being sent home, it is about the impact on people’s lives. The small amounts of $200 or $300 that each migrant sends home make up about 60 per cent of the family’s household income, and this makes an enormous difference in their lives and the communities in which they live.”