Lremittances to developing countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region increased by 7.6% in 2021 to reach $61 billion, driven by strong increases to Morocco (40 %) and Egypt (6.4%)”reads the latest briefing note from the Washington-based financial institution released this week.
According to the report, this increase is explained by the economic growth recorded in the host countries of the European Union, as well as by transit migration, which has contributed to an increase in remittances to temporary host countries such as Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.
Migrant Fund: 61% of external resources in 2021
“In 2022, the growth of migration remittances to the region is expected to slow down to 6%”says the Bretton Woods institution, recalling that for developing countries in the MENA region, remittances from migrants have long been the main source of external resources (61% in 2021), ahead of official development assistance. development, foreign direct investment (FDI) and investment and debt flows.
The cost of sending $200 to the region decreased in the fourth quarter of 2021, to 6.4%, from 6.6% a year earlier, the same source said.
Separately, the World Bank reveals that officially recorded remittances to low- and middle-income countries are expected to rise by 4.2% to $630 billion this year, noting that the rise follows a recovery near record 8.6% in 2021.
The war in Ukraine is also affecting international payment systems, which has repercussions on the flow of cross-border remittances, experts from the financial institution warn. Russia’s exclusion from the SWIFT system has added a national security dimension to participation in international payment systems.
“Reducing money transfer fees by 2 percentage points would potentially result in annual savings of $12 billion for international migrants from low- and middle-income countries, and $400 million for migrants and refugees from Ukraine”noted Dilip Ratha, lead author of the note and director of the Global Knowledge Partnership on Development and Migration (KNOMAD).
“Cross-border payment systems, however, risk becoming multi-polar and less interoperable, which will slow progress in reducing remittance fees”he noted.