Why Nigeria Continues To Record Higher Remittance Inflow In Sub- Saharan Africa

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CBN

… $17.6bn in 2021 and$19bn in 2022

Olusola  Bello

 

Remittance inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa are envisaged to $45bn in 2021, a new report by the World Bank has indicated.

Out of this amount, the remittance inflow to Nigeria is projected to be $17.2bn which is the highest of all the inflows expected to come to the region during the period under review.

The bank’s report which is titled, ‘Recovery COVID-19 Crisis Through a Migration Lens: Migration and Development Brief 35’, which was released on Wednesday, showed that remittance inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa returned to growth in 2021, increasing by 6.2 percent to $45bn.

The bank stated that the recovery in Nigeria’s remittance inflows could to some extent be attributed to policies intended to channel inflows through the banking system.

The report stated that Nigeria continues to dominate remittance inflows into Sub-Saharan Africa given the exceptional size of the Nigerian migrant base (an estimated 800,000 persons) concentrated in two key host countries, the United States (375,000) and the United Kingdom (220,000).

In 2018, remittance inflow to Nigeria was $24.31bn; in 2019, it was $23.81bn; and in 2020, it dropped to $17.21bn, according to data from the World Bank.

The World Bank stated that Nigeria accounts for 50 percent of remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa, with the nation’s 28 percent ($6.6bn) dropped in remittance causing the region’s remittance inflow to drop by 14.1 percent in 2020.

The bank added that remittance inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa would increase in 2022, especially on the back of a gradual movement toward the use of official channels for inflows to Nigeria.

It also anticipated 7.3 percent increase in remittances in 2022, a situation expected to  increase Nigerian receipts to $19bn, although still below the average $23bn which was the situation in the pre-pandemic period, driving African receipts to $48bn for the year

“Several developments are supporting a return to growth in remittance inflows during 2021, estimated at 6.2 percent to $45bn,” the bank said.

The multilateral institution also said remittance inflows to low and middle-income countries would reach $589bn in 2021.

Closely following Nigeria in terms of growth projection as regards remittance inflow is Kenya according to the bank. “The case of Kenya is also of note, as the country recorded more than 15 percent annual growth in receipts from 2015 through 2021, with a robust 19 percent gain in the current year.

For those countries where remittance inflows make up a substantial proportion of GDP—Lesotho, the Gambia, and the island states of Cabo Verde and Comoro,  it stated that continuing or special factors are involved.

“A downturn in revenues of the Southern Africa Customs Union has required migrants from smaller member states in southern Africa to increase the amount of their personal transfers.

“The collapse of tourism revenues in several island states with small populations has prompted increases inflows to home countries. Signs of a modest pickup in officially recorded inflows to Nigeria support a positive regional forecast.

“Economic recovery in Europe and the United States in 2021—just as most Sub-Saharan African countries suffered significant debt difficulties and anemic growth—should enable and incentivize increased economic and altruistic remittance flows from the large African diaspora.

“The number of extreme poor in the region is likely to have increased by more than 32 million from 2020 through mid-2021, and economic growth is expected to be 3.7 percent for the year—the slowest among developing regions in 2021.”

According to the World Bank, Nigeria accounts for 50 percent of remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa, with the nation’s 28 percent ($6.6bn) dropped in remittance causing the region’s remittance inflow to drop by 14.1 percent in 2020.

It is however worried that Africa is mired in a worsening debt crisis, relying on external support to meet financing requirements. But the broader resilience of migrant-worker remittances in the face of deterioration in economic conditions has been clearly demonstrated in the region.

They also noted that the cost of remittance to Sub-Saharan Africa is the highest globally. The bank said, “The cost of sending money across international borders remained high, around 6.4 percent on average in the first quarter of 2021. Sending remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly high (eight percent).”

The bank added that remittance inflows to Sub-Saharan Africa would increase in 2022, especially on the back of a gradual movement toward the use of official channels for inflows to Nigeria.

The global bank said an anticipated 7.3 percent increase in remittances in 2022 would increase Nigerian receipts to $19bn, although still below the average $23bn that was the situation pre-pandemic period, driving African receipts to $48bn for the year.

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