The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) has just released a Survey on the Use of Remittances. The survey provides interesting update on the demographic and economic characteristics of the 8.6 million Bangladeshi workers currently working abroad. Conducted during 12-23 June 2013, the survey enumerated 9,961 Remittance Receiving Households (RRHs) from all the seven divisions of the country.
Overall, the survey mostly reaffirms findings from previous surveys and studies about migration and remittance behavior of Bangladeshis.
Who are the migrants?
The overwhelming majority (97.4 percent) of migrants are males, married (67.1 percent), Muslims (97.8 percent) most of whom (78.2 percent) are less than 39 years old with majority (61.5 percent) having less than ten years of education.
The majority (over 57 percent) of the migrants have been staying abroad for over 5 years and a significant (22.3 percent) proportion (largely from Sylhet) have been staying abroad for over ten years. Most (91 percent) work as blue colored labor in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Malaysia, Oman, Kuwait, South Korea and Singapore. Most of them (87.8 percent) received no formal training before leaving the country.
Migration and Remittances
Politicians tend to get all the blame for immigration policies not working. But politicians are often doomed to fail on migration questions because there are deep-rooted problems with the way we all debate immigration and with what we expect of immigration policy.
Salauddin, a farmer, migrated to Dhaka (the capital) from a rural area of Bangladesh because of severe drought. He is now one of half million rickshaw-pullers. He spends only tk 100 a day and saves the rest; when having saved tk3000 (usually in a three-week time), he goes home to see his wife and children. His wife says, “thanks to this money, I can now cook this meal.”
The World Bank’s KNOMAD (Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development) held a conference on internal migration and urbanization in Dhaka on April 30 – May 1, 2014, in collaboration with the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, University of Dhaka. The conference aimed to better understand the multifaceted aspects of internal migration and found the following.
Last week the New York Times featured an editorial suggesting that the World Bank should become a remittance center. Remittances are the "largest and arguably most effective antipoverty effort in the world.....financed by the poor themselves...,” it stated. “But the cost to transfer those billions is likely to rise soon...[as] big banks are leaving the money-transfer business, including Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase."
"If banks can’t profitably transmit remittances — and won’t do so as a low-margin courtesy — then other secure, low-cost options must be found. One solution would be for the World Bank to become a remittance center.”
When economists think about price shocks, they consider how a change in price will affect the supply and demand of a product. But when that product is human – i.e., a worker – interpreting the impact of a price – or wage – shock is no longer cut and dried.
Just consider: If your wage was suddenly cut, would you remain in your current job despite the loss in earnings? Would you quit immediately, or look for a new job while continuing to work? How long could you survive on your lower earnings? Would you be forced to sell your house or other assets? How much money and effort would you invest in finding a better job? Would your personal circumstances allow you to take a better job in a distant location? Would you uproot your family for this job?
For the US authorities I will still be “a legal alien”, but according to the UN definition I am going to be a migrant from tomorrow on. More precisely: I will be a long-term international migrant since I have been residing for more than twelve months in a country other than the country of usual residence. Today, I am still a short-term international migrant (three to twelve months in another country than the one of usual residence).
I am wondering whether the statistic offices immediately realize that there is another migrant living on this planet. I may be the 46,199,912th migrant living in the US or one of estimated 234 million migrants living worldwide (or 3.2 per cent of the world population). And I will also be part of the majority of international migrants (59 per cent) who lives in a developed country.
Migration has to happen, is happening, and will happen. We have to find ways to manage it and harness its benefits. Competition for skilled workers will increase even as there will be a need for creating more jobs for all.
There are nearly 1 billion migrants – 1 out of 7 people in the world. Of this about one-fourth, a quarter of a billion people are international migrants. Of the international migrants, south-south migration is larger than south-north migration.
In order to highlight the contributions of migrants, we will keep a running tally of goals scored by migrants and non-migrants in the chart below. The more detailed file is available here. Check back and see how they are doing as this exciting World Cup reaches its climax!
Please Do Not Teach This Woman to Fish
Is there anyone out there who doesn't think small business is the lifeblood of any economy? From Washington to Warsaw, politicians and pundits just can't speak highly enough of plucky entrepreneurs. Even in poor countries, entrepreneurship is one of the most important forces underpinning economic growth, but the best way to raise living standards and reduce poverty is not necessarily to make everyone an entrepreneur. So why do so many costly development programs apparently ignore this fact? Once upon a time, people who wanted to fight poverty believed in direct approaches that solved identifiable problems one by one. If you wanted to make farmers more productive, you gave them fertilizer. If you wanted to boost manufacturing, you set up factories. To help both of these sectors grow and export goods, you built roads and ports. These kinds of investments quelled hunger and raised incomes in many countries. But recently, an indirect approach arose with promises of still greater benefits.
Where Next for Aid? The Post-2015 Opportunity
This joint ODI-UNDP paper looks at whether development aid will remain important in the post-2015 era, and asks how the old aid model should change in response to a dramatically new world and new sustainable development challenges. The paper suggests that the label “international public finance for sustainable development” – or IPF4SD – is a more accurate description of the types of interventions that need to be funded in the post-2015 era. This finance will also be needed over the long-term. The authors suggest ways in which these funds could reliably be raised over the long-term, as well as how the architecture which mediates IPF4SD could be improved.
The World Cup Football finals get underway in Brazil today – the long wait is over! They mean many different things to the billions around the world who will come together to watch, evoking intense emotions of national pride and glory, or humiliation and outrage. Goals and calls by referees are recalled decades later, hotly debated in a passion for the ‘beautiful game.’ One key aspect of this ultimate expression of globalization is that most of the players are migrants, either playing for their national teams while currently residing in another country (such as Lionel Messi, born in Argentina, living in Spain, and playing for Argentina), or playing for a national team different from their country of birth (such as Diego Costa, born in Brazil, living in Spain, and playing for Spain), or both (such as Miroslav Klose, born in Poland, living in Italy, and playing for Germany).