Nigerians living abroad (Diaspora), sent $21.9 billion back home in 2017, the World Bank said in its latest migration and development report, representing a 12 percent increase when compared to the $19.64 billion it repatriated in 2016.
The amount sent home by Nigerians in Diaspora represents the highest in the Sub-Saharan Africa and the fifth highest in the world.
“Remittances to low- and middle-income countries rebounded to a record level in 2017 after two consecutive years of decline,” the bank said.
Furthermore, “officially recorded remittances to low- and middle-income countries reached $466 billion in 2017, an increase of 8.5 percent over $429 billion in 2016. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, grew 7 percent to $613 billion in 2017, from $573 billion in 2016,”
The rebound in remittances was driven by growth in Europe, the Russian Federation, and the United States. The rebound in remittances, when valued in U.S. dollars, was helped by higher oil prices and a strengthening of the euro and ruble.
By region, Europe and Central Asia saw the biggest growth last year, jumping by 21 per cent to $48 billion in 2017, after three consecutive years of decline, while remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa accelerated 11.4 percent to $38 billion in 2017, supported by improving economic growth in advanced economies and higher oil prices benefiting regional economies.
The largest remittance recipients were Nigeria ($21.9 billion), Senegal ($2.2 billion), and Ghana ($2.2 billion).
Remittance inflows improved in all regions and the top remittance recipients were India with $69 billion, followed by China ($64 billion), the Philippines ($33 billion), Mexico ($31 billion), Nigeria ($22 billion), and Egypt ($20 billion).
The Bank said it expects remittance to continue to increase in 2018, by 4.1 percent to reach $485 billion. Global remittances are expected to grow 4.6 percent to $642 billion in 2018.
The global average cost of sending $200 was 7.1 percent in the first quarter of 2018, more than twice as high as the Sustainable Development Goal target of 3 percent.
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most expensive place to send money to, where the average cost is 9.4 percent.
“While remittances are growing, countries, institutions, and development agencies must continue to chip away at high costs of remitting so that families receive more of the money,” Dilip Ratha, lead author of the report said.