Remittances: the international trajectories of the economic exchanges of the families

More than 600 billion of dollars in remittance from the rich countries towards the original families. An on-line interactive map describes the flows of this domestic global economy.

625 billion of dollars: this, according to the World Bank, is the amount of money that in 2017 has crossed the ocean and that has increased, compared to 7% in 2016. It is the total value of the remittances, the money that the immigrants send to their countries and families of origin. The estimate, carried out through a purely statistic model and probably rounded down, because it is impossible to trace all the flows of money and because of the under-utilisation of bank accounts in the countries of destination, is nevertheless interesting.

According to the Pew Research Center it is the first year in which the remittances have achieved a positive trend since 2014. This, according to the economists of the World Bank, must be attributed to the stabilisation of the cost of oil and of the currencies competing with the US dollar.

The area that has benefited more from this growth has been sub-Saharan Africa, in particular Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Kenya. In particular, Nigeria has received 22 billions of dollars in remittances, 23% of which derives from the United States (more than 6 billion dollars) and from Europe (in particular UK with more than 4 billion and Italy with 1 billion).

The impact of the remittances of the migrants is the subject of various studies and debates. Many studies show how the remittances reduce the poverty of the families in the developing countries and are positively related to the possibility, for the families, to invest in healthcare, education and in the beginning of small business activities. Nevertheless, it seems that such a big flow of money is not able to have a real impact on the economy of the countries of destination. The researchers have given various explanations of this paradox, first of all the balance between the remittances received and the depressive effect on the economy caused by the loss of talents and resources emigrated abroad.

For a detailed analysis it is possible to consult the interactive map on remittances. Please select the country in the drop-down menu and to choose the Outgoing (outgoing remittances) or Ingoing (ingoing remittances) option.