Remittances to developing countries decreased by 2.4 percent to an estimated $429 billion in 2016. This is the second consecutive year that remittances have declined. Such a trend has not been seen in the last 30 years. Even during the global financial crisis, remittances contracted only during 2009, bouncing back in the following year.
The stock of African migrants in 2015 was estimated at about 23.2 million (Migration and Remittances Factbook 2016: and the top emigration countries are mostly fragile and poor (see Table 1). About 31.1% of Sub-Saharan Africans migrate to high-income countries compared to 90% in North Africa. The leading destination of these migrants include France, Saudi Arabia, USA, UK, Spain, and Italy. The second generation of African diaspora in the Western hemisphere was estimated at 1.1 million in 2012, and most of them live in Australia, Europe, and the USA.
Standard trade literature tends to view migration and trade as substitutes. In that framework, either workers migrate to satisfy foreign demand or foreign demand is satisfied by trading goods and services. There is a growing literature, however, emphasizing that migrant networks facilitate bilateral economic transactions by disseminating their preferences for goods from their country of origin and/or by removing informational and cultural barriers between hosts and origin countries. In this case, migration would reduce transaction costs associated with trade and may be a complement rather than a substitute to trade.
The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) launched its 2011 Global Trends report on refugees, stateless persons and internally displaced persons shortly in advance of World Refugee Day on July 20. Bearing the subtitle of a "year of crises", the report documents that conflicts in Africa contributed to the emergence of over 800,000 refugees last year. This is the highest number in over ten years.
A recently introduced bipartisan legislation entitled, “The Increasing American Jobs through Greater Exports to Africa Act of 2012 “ will promote the increase of US exports to Africa. On March 22, U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) jointly with U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) presented a bill to improve the competitiveness of U.S. business in Africa, including African diaspora businesses. The bill also proposes to explore ways to utilize diaspora remittances to Africa for development purposes.
The proceeds of the bond will be used to fund the construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam. This dam will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa when completed (5,250 Mega Watts). The first one was called the Millennium Corporate bond, and was for raising funds for the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO) . The first diaspora bond issuance did not meet the expectations. Sales were slow during the first months of offering despite the efforts of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and the embassies and consulates to sell them. Some risks that the diaspora faced were: i) risk perceptions on the payment ability of EEPCO on its future earnings from the operations of the hydroelectric power; ii) lack of trust in the government as a guarantor; and iii) political risks.
Today we released a new report, 'Leveraging Migration for Africa: Remittances, Skills, and Investments'. This report is a joint effort by the African Development Bank and the World Bank. It comes at a time when countries in Africa and elsewhere are grappling with difficult choices on how to manage migration. It marks an effort to fill data and knowledge gaps on migration which in Africa comes in complex forms.
About 30 million Africans live outside their home countries, and migration is a vital lifeline for the continent. These migrants sent home over $40 billion in remittances last year. And their annual estimated saving, usually held in foreign countries, exceeds $50 billion.