Having surpassed the annual volume of portfolio capital flows or official development assistance, remittances are among the largest and most stable external flows to developing countries. As per the World Bank estimates, remittances to developing countries have increased steadily over the years, from $324 billion in 2009 to $436 billion in 2014. The resilience of remittances has not been uniform across countries though. It has depended crucially on the economic conditions in the host countries where a country’s diaspora population lives; and on the kind of economic activities that it primarily engages in. Remittances are affected adversely during economic slowdown in the host countries, and especially if the diaspora engages in cyclically volatile activities, such as construction.
Diasporas are increasingly garnering attention as contributors to economic and social development in their countries of origin. Remittances from international migrants to developing countries alone are three times the amount of official development assistance. Diasporas have both the desire and capacity to invest in their countries of origin, but as discussed in our last blog post (Why Diaspora Investing is a Burgeoning Trend), there exists several barriers to diaspora capital flows including lack of information, widespread legal challenges, and the growing need for financial intermediaries. U.S. diasporas value transparency, tax deductions, and the ability to invest in entrepreneurship, but they are often restricted from investing due to strict investor regulations. Perhaps the solution is a well-established IRS philanthropic vehicle called a donor advised fund (DAF), which can be tailored to appeal to the diaspora.
The 8th Migration and Development Conference will be held on June 8-9 at the World Bank Group headquarters in Washington, DC. This is the premier annual conference on migration issues that investigates how international migration affects economic and social change in developing countries. This conference is co-sponsored with the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Center for Global Development (CGD). In addition to Çağlar Özden from the World Bank, the organizers of the conference are Cyrille Bellier (AFD), Hillel Rapoport (Paris School of Economics) and Michael Clemens (CGD).
The International Conference: Harnessing Migration, Remittances and Diaspora Contributions for Financing Sustainable Development organized by the Global Migration Group (GMG) will be held next Tuesday and Wednesday May 26-27.
We will stream live to viewers around the globe on the UN Web TV website at: http://webtv.un.org.
The hashtag for the conference is #GMGconference. Use this to refer to the event, make your views known and get the latest discussions and comments from the conference.
The year 2015 marks an important turning point in global development processes as the international community is faced with the challenges and the opportunities of shaping effective strategies to both promote sustainable development and secure its financing. This Conference entitled “Harnessing Migration, Remittances and Diaspora Contributions for Financing Sustainable Development” is taking place against the backdrop of the intergovernmental negotiations at the United Nations General Assembly for the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development (Addis Ababa, July 13-16, 2015) and the United Nations Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda (New York, September 2015). To participate in-person please RSVP to [email protected] by 20 May 2015.
Saudi Arabia hosts the largest number of migrants in the Gulf region. The country is the second largest remittance sender after the USA. A new Saudization program since 2011, the so-called “Nitaqat program”, seeks to increase the number of Saudi nationals employed in the private sector. Will this have an impact on migrants and remittance outflows from Saudi Arabia?