World Bank reports record high remittances sent globally in 2018

Remittances to low and middle-income countries reached a “record high” in 2018, the World Bank said Monday. According to the World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief, the bank estimates that “officially recorded annual remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries” reached US$529 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.6 percent over the previous record high of US$483 billion in 2017.

It indicated that “global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries,” reached US$689 billion in 2018, up from US$633 billion in 2017. It added that “regionally, growth in remittance inflows ranged from almost seven percent in East Asia and the Pacific to 12 percent in South Asia.”

“The overall increase was driven by a stronger economy and employment situation in the United States and a rebound in outward flows from some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation. Excluding China, remittances to low- and middle-income countries (US$462 billion) were significantly larger than foreign direct investment flows in 2018 (US$344 billion),” the report noted.

It indicated that remittances to the Middle East and North Africa grew nine percent to US$62 billion in 2018, where “the growth was driven by Egypt’s rapid remittance growth of around 17 percent.” “Beyond 2018, the growth of remittances to the region is expected to continue, albeit at a slower pace of around three percent in 2019 due to moderating growth in the Euro Area,” the report affirmed.