The Jakarta Post
Remittances to developing countries fell for a second consecutive year in 2016, a trend not seen in three decades, says the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief, which is released during the International Monetary Fund's Spring Meetings.
The Bank estimated that officially recorded remittances to developing countries amounted to US$429 billion in 2016, a decline of 2.4 percent from the $440 billion in 2015. The East Asia and Pacific regions saw an estimated 1.2 percent decline in 2016 to $126 billion.
Flows to Indonesia fell at a higher rate, by 4.4 percent, because of low oil prices and weak economic growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries -- where most Indonesian migrant workers are stationed.
“Remittances are an important source of income for millions of families in developing countries. As such, a weakening of remittance flows can have a serious impact on the ability of families to get health care, education, or proper nutrition,” said the World Bank’s global indicators group acting director Rita Ramalho on Friday.
Many large remittance-receiving countries saw sharp declines in remittance flows. India, retaining its top spot as the world’s largest remittance recipient, led the decline with $62.7 billion of remittance inflows last year, an 8.9 percent decrease from $68.9 billion in 2015.
The exceptions among major remittance recipients were Mexico and the Philippines, which saw inflows increase by an estimated 8.8 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively, last year.
For 2017, remittances to the East Asia and Pacific regions are forecast to grow 2.5 percent to $129 billion.