Despite the headwinds that have dominated the year, remittances to low and middle-income countries in 2022 still grew by 5% to $626 billion, the World Bank Migration and Development Brief has said. Africa, where the cost of sending $200 averaged 7.8% in 2022, is the “most severely exposed to the concurrent crises.”

Impact of the Appreciating Ruble and Weaker Euro

According to the latest World Bank Migration and Development Brief (MDB), total remittances to the so-called low and middle-income countries (LMICs) in 2022 went up by 5% to $626 billion. The increase, which is lower than the 10.2% seen in 2021, came despite the global headwinds that have characterized much of 2022, the report said.

As per the brief, the factors that contributed to the slower rate of growth in the U.S. dollar value of remittances sent to LMICs include the Russian currency’s appreciation, the weaker euro, as well as the scarcity of foreign currency in some countries.

Commenting on the report, Michal Rutkowski, a global director for social protection and jobs at the World Bank, said:

Migrants help to ease tight labor markets in host countries while supporting their families through remittances. Inclusive social protection policies have helped workers weather the income and employment uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Such policies have global impacts through remittances and must be continued.

Africa Most Exposed to ‘the Concurrent Crises’

Meanwhile, according to the MDB, Africa is the region “most severely exposed to the concurrent crises.” To illustrate, the report notes that while remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew by 5.2% to $53 billion, this increase is markedly lower than the increase of 16.4% that was achieved in 2021. In terms of the cost of remitting funds, the brief said the cost of sending $200 to the region is 7.8% which is the highest among the six global regions covered by the study.

Concerning the use of digital channels when sending remittances, the report acknowledges that while the cost of remitting funds via these channels is much lower, several factors still render them less ideal alternatives.

“Digital technologies allow for significantly faster and cheaper remittance services. However, the burden of compliance with Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism regulations continues to restrict access of new service providers to correspondent banks. These regulations also affect migrants’ access to digital remittance services,” the MDB noted.

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