Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Worker remittances to Mexico are a bigger share of national GDP than is tourism; in countries such as Nicaragua and El Salvador remittances total an amazing 13% of GDP. That's why this news is particularly noteworthy.
Caribbean and Latin American immigrants across the country, in states like Wisconsin and Kentucky as well as Texas and California, are expected to send a record $30 billion this year to their families and friends back home, according to a study released on Monday.

Those remittances by immigrants, who are often holding down two jobs and earning less than $20,000 a year, have become a hot topic when the subject of development is discussed at the highest levels of government. It will be an important issue at the summit meeting of seven of the world's largest economies, plus Russia, in Sea Island, Ga., next month.

At a time when the world's wealthy nations give just $52 billion in foreign aid to the poorer countries, the $30 billion sent home by immigrants in increments of $200 to $300 is substantial. It is more money than these countries receive from foreign aid and in foreign investment.
The Global North gets the best of both worlds from Southern immigrant workers. They get cheap labor and a self-financing foreign aid program!

According to the World Bank, remittances from North to South totaled some $93bn in 2003, making them the second most important source of capital in the South after FDI (foreign direct investment) and nearly double the amount of ODA (official development assistance).

Yah, let the poor meet the Millennium Goals with their own damned money!


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