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Jamaica’s remittances surpass $3.3 billion, government calls diaspora ‘investors, partners’

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Posted: Friday, April 8, 2022. 8:18 am CST.

Photo Credit: knomad.org

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Jamaica’s income from remittances surpassed US$3.3 billion for 2021, prompting Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Leslie Campbell, to call the Jamaican diaspora “investors, partners, marketers, networkers, and key collaborators with the Government of Jamaica, businesses and civil society”.

The US$3.3 billion is US$2.9 billion more than in 2020.

The Jamaica Information Service said Campbell made the statement at the Global Diaspora Summit in Dublin, Ireland. Campbell said Jamaicans in the diaspora showed a “strong testament of commitment” by sending more money home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Campbell said the Jamaican Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports the World Bank which said governments should facilitate the flow of remittances.

“Remittance flows from migrants have greatly complemented government cash transfer programs to support families suffering economic hardships during the COVID-19 crisis. Facilitating the flow of remittances to provide relief to strained household budgets should be a key component of government policies to support a global recovery from the pandemic,” said Michal Rutkowski, World Bank Global Director for Social Protection and Jobs in the World Bank 2021 remittances press release in November 2021.

“We endorse this position and support efforts to partner with private entities to facilitate research, dialogue, development, and implementation for the safe and efficient transmission of remittances,” Campbell said.

The World Bank said that remittances to low- and middle-income countries were projected to reach $589 billion in 2021, an increase of 7.3 percent when compared to 2020 when remittances dropped by only 1.7 percent notwithstanding the severe global recession brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Bank said that despite the high cost of sending remittances which reached 6.4 percent to send US$200 from one country to another in the first quarter of 2021, remittances “registered strong growth in most regions”.

According to the World Bank, flows increased by 21.6 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and this was mainly due to the economic recovery in the United States plus the response of migrants to natural disasters in their countries of origin.

The World Bank said that their data shows the cost to send remittances is usually higher when money is sent through banks than through digital channels or through money transfers by companies that offer cash-to-cash services.

“To keep remittances flowing, especially through digital channels, providing access to bank accounts for migrants and remittance service providers remains a key requirement. Policy responses also must continue to be inclusive of migrants, especially in the areas of access to vaccines and protection from underpayment,” said Dilip Ratha, lead author of the Migration and Development Brief and head of KNOMAD.

The World Bank said that projections show that remittances will grow by 2.6 percent in 2022.

Remittances to Jamaica represent 23.6 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, while for Belize remittances represent just 7.3 percent, according to the Migration and Development Brief.

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