By ‘Dotun Akintomide
Nigerian migrant workers sent back home $18.956bn as remittances, a figure which indicated a 5.2 percent growth in nine years, a UN agency’s report has shown.
According to the report, titled Sending Money Home: Contributing to the SDGs, One Family at a Time and published on Wednesday, global migrant workers sent back to their home countries $445bn in 2016, lifting millions out of poverty.
The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development said currently about 200 million migrants, by sending money home, have supported some 800 million family members globally.
Women now comprise about half of all remittance senders, and it is believed that this trend can help advance gender equality and women’s empowerment through financial independence and better employment opportunities.
The report, by the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development, said that remittance flows have grown over the last decade at an average rate of 4.2 percent annually, from $296bn in 2007 to $445bn in 2016.
According to the report, the top 10 sending countries account for almost half of annual flows, led by the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Up to 80 percent of remittances are received by 23 countries, led by China, India, the Philippines, Mexico and Pakistan.
As to the remittance transfer method, cash-to-cash remains the most common form, while mobile phone networks, internet-based tools and digital money in various forms present a potentially transformative force for sending and receiving money.
The report also pointed out that the most important objective going forward should be to leverage the potential development impact on the receiving side by providing remittance-receiving families better opportunities to use their money productively.