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Remittances to the Caribbean remain robust despite increased deportations – World Bank

Saturday, April 12, 2014 | 8:55 AM    

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WASHINGTON (CMC) -- The World Bank says remittances to the Caribbean are expected to remain robust this year, despite increased deportations of migrant workers.

The Washington-based financial institution said that migrants from developing countries, including the Caribbean, are expected to send US$436 billion in remittances to their home countries this year.

According to the latest issue of the bank’s Migration and Development Brief, this year’s remittance flows to developing countries will increase by 7.8 per cent over the 2013 volume of US$404 billion, rising to US$516 billion in 2016.

The document noted that global remittances, including those to high-income countries, are estimated at US$581 billion this year, from US$542 billion in 2013, rising to US$681 billion in 2016.

The World Bank said remittances remain a key source of external resource flows for developing countries, far exceeding official development assistance and more stable than private debt and portfolio equity flows.

For many Caribbean and other developing countries, the bank said remittances are “an important source of foreign exchange, surpassing earnings from major exports, and covering a substantial portion of imports”.

Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, Kaushik Basu, said “remittances have become a major component of the balance of payments of nations.

“There is no doubt that these flows act as an antidote to poverty and promote prosperity,” he said, noting that remittances and migration data were also “barometers of global peace and turmoil, and this is what makes World Bank’s KNOMAD initiative to organize, analyze, and make available these data so important”.

The Migration and Development Brief notes that while the medium term outlook for remittances is strong, downside risks loom mainly from migrants’ return to their home countries as a result of conflict or deportation from host countries.

According to the brief, last year saw an “intensification of deportations,” over 368,000 people deported from the United States to their home countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The World Bank said remittance flows to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean grew slightly by 1.9 per cent in 2013 to reach US$61 billion.

Following a 13-month decline, the bank said remittance flows to the region began recovering in the second half of 2013.

It said the positive impetus from the US economic recovery was "partly offset by removals of migrants from the US".

In the medium term, the World Bank said improving employment conditions in the US “point to stronger growth in remittances” which are expected to reach US$81 billion by 2016.

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