In 2021, migrants’ remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) reached US$540 billion, only 1.6 per cent below the US$548 billion seen in 2019, and are expected to recover in 2021.
In the offset of the crisis, over 200 million migrants defied predictions of the pandemic and continued to send money home to their over 800 family members in countries of origin, demonstrating once more an incredible resilience and the usual care for their families back home.
Migrants’ digital and financial inclusion can contribute to maximise the vast potential of remittances and investments for the development of local and national economies, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
To recover and build resilience after the COVID-19 pandemic, and to achieve greater financial inclusion, new technologies have proven effective in increasing the use of regulated digital channels, but more needs to be done to increase their access and use, especially in rural areas where they count the most. The role of the private sector is paramount towards this global effort, to unlock opportunities for millions of people and provide them with more options.
Nevertheless, coherent public policies and priorities need to be put in place to support civil society and private sector initiatives.
This virtual Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development (eGFRID) webinar, hosted by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) within the framework of the Financial Inclusion Week, addressed the above challenges and present opportunities to promote greater digital and financial inclusion for migrants and their family members back home.
Following outcomes drawn at the recent GFRID Summit 2021, and through examples of initiatives on the ground and engagement in global processes, the webinar provided recommendations for governments, regulators, the remittance industry and the civil society, to expand access to digital remittance services and to fully exploit their development impact.
The webinar was part of the 2021 campaign to mark the UN International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR), observed each 16 June in recognition of the crucial contribution of migrant workers to the wellbeing of their families back home. The campaign focuses on the theme: “Recovery and resilience through digital and financial inclusion,” to highlight best practices and lessons learned in response to the impact of COVID-19 on remittances.
The webinar saw the participation of renowned experts and practitioners from the field – from both public and private sectors – share their insights, experiences and lessons learned during this time of crisis.