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    Immigrants protest in the United States. | Photo: Reuters

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According to the U.N., some 800 million family members worldwide are supported by the remittances of 200 million global migrants.

A significant increase in remittances is being sent by migrants to Caribbean island nations and other developing countries. This is according to a new U.N. report titled “Sending Money Home: Contributing to the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) One Family at a Time.”

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The report, commissioned by the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, indicates that remittances to the Caribbean in 2016 amounted to over US$445 million. These funds play a vital role in aiding developing countries to achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.

Pedro de Vasconcelos, IFAD's Financing Facility for Remittances manager and lead author of the report, stressed that some “40 percent of remittances, US$200 billion, are sent to rural areas where the majority of poor people live.”

He pointed out that while immigration from these countries had increased by 28 percent over the past decade, remittances had risen by a significantly greater 51 percent over the same period.

“This money is spent on food, health care, better educational opportunities and improved housing and sanitation. Remittances are therefore critical to help developing countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” de Vasconcelos noted.

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The Daily Observer - Antigua reported that “Sending Money Home” spans a 10-year period (2007–2016) which analyzes migration and remittances.

The region with the largest increase of remittances, 87 percent, has been Asia.

Gilbert F. Houngbo, IFAD president, noted that the impact of remittances shouldn't be measured by its quantity but its quality. “The small amounts of US$200 or US$300 that each migrant sends home make up about 60 percent of the family’s household income, and this makes an enormous difference in their lives and the communities in which they live,” he said.

According to the U.N., some 800 million family members worldwide are supported by the remittances of 200 million global migrants.

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