Rob Katz

Show Me the Money – A Remittance Review

On the topic of ?in case you missed it?, Ethan Zuckerman of wonder-blog WorldChanging wrote a great piece on remittances back on January 12.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of remittance income to most African nations and many developing nations. Nworah cites a figure of $300 billion dollars sent from diasporas to developing nations via remittance. In Africa, the amount of money remitted by diaspora workers – $17 billion per year – is larger than the amount of foreign direct investment in Africa, and rivals official development assistance grants or loans ($25 billion per year)… While remittance income is incredibly important for the developing world, there are at least four major problems with the remittance system as it currently exists: cost, safety, potential for misuse, and scale issues.

The whole post is worth a read, especially the discussion of 4 major problems. Ethan also points readers to more resources on remittances, but I thought to remind folks of NextBillion’s Activity Database and topic category on remittances, as well as the recently-published case study on Thamel Dot Com, a fantastic goods remittance service. Still not satisfied? Browse the conference resources page for various presentations on the impact of remittances at the base of the pyramid. Happy reading, and thanks again, Ethan.