With $69 bn, India tops in global remittances

Washington, April 19 (IANS) India remains the largest recipient of global remittances in the world, receiving $69 billion in 2012, the World Bank said Friday as it launched a new initiative on migration issues.

Envisioned as a global hub of knowledge and policy expertise on migration issues, the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), was initiated in response to the rapid growth in migration and remittances over the last decade, it said.

In addition to large numbers of unskilled migrants working mainly in the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, India also has a large skilled diaspora the US and other high-income countries, the bank noted.

Flows to Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal have also been robust, helped by strong economic growth in the GCC and India, it said.

Officially recorded remittance flows to South Asia are estimated to have increased sharply by 12.8 percent to $109 billion in 2012. This follows growth averaging 13.8 percent in each of the previous two years.

Remittances to the region are projected to remain buoyant in the coming years, reaching $140 billion in 2015, the bank said.

Other top recipients of officially recorded remittances for 2012 are China ($60 billion), the Philippines ($24 billion), Mexico ($23 billion) and Nigeria and Egypt ($21 billion each). Other large recipients include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Lebanon.

“Nearly one billion people – that is, one out of every seven persons on the planet – have migrated internally and across international borders in search of better opportunities and living conditions, with profound implications for development,” the bank said.

Remittance flows to developing countries have more than quadrupled since 2000, it said. Global remittances, including those to high-income countries, are estimated to have reached $514 billion in 2012, compared to $132 billion in 2000.

“Migration and remittances offer a vital lifeline for millions of people and can play a major role in an economy’s take-off,” said Kaushik Basu, the World Bank’s chief economist and senior vice president for development economics.

“The World Bank has played a critical role in migration and remittance research and KNOMAD will be critical in taking this agenda forward,” he said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])

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