India retains top remittances position with $80bn sent home

Pedro Gonçalves
India retains top remittances position with $80bn sent home

India has retained its spot as the world's top recipient of remittances this year, with its citizens sending as much as $80bn back home, according to the latest edition of the World Bank's Migration and Development Brief. 

The country has registered a substantial flow of remittances in the past three years, increasing from $62.7bn in 2016 to $65.3bn in 2017, when remittances constituted 2.7% of the country's GDP.

India is followed by China ($67bn), Mexico and the Philippines ($34bn each) and Egypt ($26bn), according to the figures from the World Bank.

Global remittances are projected to grow by 10.3% to $689bn, it said. Furthermore, remittances to South Asia are projected to increase by 13.5% to USD 132bn in 2018, a stronger pace than the 5.7% growth seen in 2017.

This is due largely to stronger economic conditions in advanced countries such as the US, as well as an increase in oil prices positively affecting some GCC countries including the UAE. The Gulf country reported a 13% growth in outflows for the first half of 2018.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional inter-governmental political and economic bloc of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The brief notes that the global average cost of sending USD 200 remains high at 6.9% in the third quarter of 2018. Reducing remittance flows to three per cent by 2030 is a global target under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10.7.

Increasing the volume of remittances is also a global goal under the proposals for raising financing for the SDGs, it said.

"Even with technological advances, remittances fees remain too high, double the SDG target of 3 per cent. Opening up markets to competition and promoting the use of low-cost technologies will ease the burden on poorer customers," said Mahmoud Mohieldin, senior vice president for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations, and Partnerships at the Bank.