1. definition
  2. examples and/or illustrations
  3. other useful sources
  4. bibliography


“1. The sending of money to someone at a distance.

  2. The sum of money sent.”

            -http://www.thefreedictionary.com/remittance. [Accessed 21 September 2013].

“Remittances – migrants’ material transfers to personal contacts ‘back home’ – are an important element in the relationship between migration and social change in countries of origin… Remitting can be a source of familial and cultural reaffirmation. At the individual and family levels, being able to support relatives can make a painful separation seem more worthwhile. Remitting is a form of kin work*maintaining affective family relationships*over long absences (Zontini 2004). In the wider cultural sense, interviewees expressed pride in the familial solidarity among Somalis, comparing it favourably with other countries in the region, and with what they saw as a more fragmented and selfish UK family and community context. However, there are also tensions; first, between senders and recipients. Some senders expressed an unease that money always seems to creep in as an issue in relationships with people back home”

– Lindley, Anna. 2009. “The Early-Morning Phonecall: Remittances from a Refugee Diaspora Perspective.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35(8): 1315-1334.


Examples and/or Illustrations

“Remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to have totaled $401 billion in 2012, an increase of 5.3% over the previous year. Global remittance flows, including those to high-income countries, were an estimated $529 billion in 2012.

  • The top recipients of officially recorded remittances in 2012 were India ($69 billion), China ($60 billion), the Philippines ($24 billion), and Mexico ($23 billion). Other large recipients included Nigeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Lebanon. However, as a share of GDP, remittances were larger in smaller and lower income countries; top recipients relative to GDP were Tajikistan (47%), Liberia (31%), Kyrgyz Republic (29%), Lesotho (27%), Moldova (23%) and Nepal (22%).
  • Remittances sent home by migrants to developing countries are equivalent to more than three times the size of official development assistance and can have profound implications for development and human welfare. Remittances can contribute to lowering poverty and building human and financial capital for the poor.
  • Despite the current global economic weakness, remittance flows are expected to continue growing, with global remittances expected to reach $608 billion by 2014, of which $468 billion will flow to developing countries.
  • Although remittance costs have fallen steadily in recent years, they remain high, especially in Africa and in small nations where remittances provide a lifeline to the poor. Globally, migrants pay an average cost of 9% to send money home. Reducing the average remittance price to 5 percent, in line with G8 and G20 targets, could save migrants up to $16 billion a year.”

     -World Bank. 2013. “Migration and Remittances: Background.” http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:20648762~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html. [Accessed 21 September 2013].

“As the consultations aimed at shaping the Post-2015 development agenda gather steam, migration and remittances are being featured as important instruments supporting the achievement of goals, as areas where new targets and principles might be articulated, and as potential sources of innovative financing. Extensive evidence shows that migration and remittances have played a key role in helping countries make progress towards, or achieve, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The elaboration of a Post-2015 agenda will need to reflect the critical impact of migration and remittances, given that there are more than 215 million international migrants and over 700 million internal migrants in the world today, and that migration, both international and within national borders, is likely to continue in the years ahead. Migration is being featured in a series of high-level dialogues, most recently at the Global Thematic Consultation on Population Dynamics held in Dhaka in March 2013. The grouping adopted the Dhaka Declaration highlighting eight recommendations aimed at pushing this agenda forward. Efforts to identify financing for the Post-2015 development framework include initiatives to tap into new sources of finance. Harnessing diasporas for development by issuing diaspora bonds or remittance backed securities could help developing countries relieve financing constraints, as well as engage diasporas in the development challenges of their countries of origin.”

-World Bank. 19 April 2013. “Migration and Development Brief 20.” Migration and Remittances Unit, Development Prospects Group. siteresources.worldbank.org/INTPROSPECTS/Resources/334934-1288990760745/MigrationDevelopmentBrief20.pdf. [Accessed 21 September 2013].

“The evidence presented here suggests that, in the context of forced migration, there is a far more unsettled relationship between the act of emigrating and that of remitting than is generally envisaged in labour migration contexts. Outward movement from the Somali regions has been prompted by serious violent conflict, persecution and generalised insecurity. Most people decided to leave not to diversify their income but to save their lives. Many refugees did subsequently remit, but for the bulk of Somali migrants, remittances were ‘unforeseen burdens’ (Riak Akuei 2005) – a post-hoc strategy – rather than part of their outward migration calculations. To understand why people remit in these circumstances, it may be particularly important to dig deeper into more general socio-cultural and economic patterns in the country of origin and the diaspora, as explored above.”

Lindley, Anna. 2009. “The Early-Morning Phonecall: Remittances from a Refugee Diaspora Perspective.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35(8): 1315-1334.

“The effects of the slowdown in remittances [as a result of the economic crisis] will be most evident among national economies and families heavily dependent on these flows. For remittance recipient households, the contraction of household income can result in severe reductions in consumption and substantial changes in labour supply. Moreover, since remittance-recipient households frequently do not have access to credit, many must generate additional labour income or rely on government social assistance to cover their basic needs. Women and children are the most vulnerable populations affected by the crisis and recent studies by the ILO suggest that women are more likely to be employed in the informal economy with lower earnings and less social protection, a situation that will be exacerbated by the current crisis. These implications can have serious consequences for children left behind, as families are forced to cut back on children’s education and health-related expenses.”

-UNICEF and the Global Forum on Migration and Development. 2009. “Factsheet on the Economic Crisis and Migration, Remittances and Children Left Behind.” www.gfmd.org/…/gfmd_athens09_contr_unicef_factsheet_migration_ remittance_children_en.pdf. [Accessed 21 September 2013]. 


Other Useful Sources

Global Forum on Migration and Development.  http://www.gfmd.org/en/.

Mohapatra, Sanket and Dilip Ratha, ed. Remittance Markets in Africa. Washington DC: The World Bank Directions in Development Series.

International Organization for Migration. “Labour Migration.” http://www.iom.int/cms/en/sites/iom/home/what-we-do/labour-migration.html.

International Organization for Migration. “Migration and Development. » http://www.iom.int/cms/en/sites/iom/home/what-we-do/migration–development-1.html.

World Bank Migration and Remittances Unit. http://econ.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTDEC/EXTDECPROSPECTS/0,,contentMDK:21121930~menuPK:3145470~pagePK:64165401~piPK:64165026~theSitePK:476883,00.html



Akuei, Stephanie Riak. “Remittances as Unforeseen Burdens: Considering Displacement, Family and Resettlement Contexts in Refugee Livelihood and Well-Being: Is there anything that States or Organizations can do?” 3 May 2004. http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home/opendocPDFViewer.html?docid=40b1ea8a4&query=remittances 22 September 2013.  


Al-Sharmani, Mulki. 2010. “Transnational Family Networks in the Somali Diaspora in Egypt: Women’s Roles and Differentiated Experiences.” Gender, Place and Culture 17(4): 499-518.

Cabraal, Anuja and Supriya Singh. 2013. “Contested Representations of Remittances and the Transnational Family.” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 36(1): 50-64.

Cohen, Jeffrey H. 2011. “Migration, Remittances, and Household Strategies.” Annual Review of Anthropology 40: 103-114.

Diaz-Briquets Sergio and Jorge Perez-Lopez. 1997. “Refugee Remittances: Conceptual Issues and the Cuban and Nicaraguan Experiences.” International Migration Review 31(2): 411-437.

Hoehne, Markus V., Dereje Feyissa and Mahdi Abdile. 2011. “Somali and Ethiopian Diasporic Engagement for Peace in the Horn of Africa.” African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review 1(1): 71-99.

Horst, Cindy. 2006. “Buufis amongst Somalis in Dadaab: the Transnational and Historical Logics behind Resettlement Dreams.” Journal of Refugee Studies 19(2): 143-157.

Jazavery, Leila. 2002. “The Migration-Development Nexus: Afghanistan Case Study.” International Migration 40(5): 231-254.

Johnson, Phyllis J. and Kathrin, Stoll. 2008. “Remittance Patterns of Southern Sudanese Refugee Men: Enacting the Global Breadwinner Role.” Family Relations 57(4): 431-443.

Lindley, Anna. 2009. “The Early-Morning Phonecall: Remittances from a Refugee Diaspora Perspective.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 35(8): 1315-1334.

Nyberg-Sorensen, Ninna, Nicholas Van Hear, and Poul Engberg-Pedersen. 2002. “The Migration-Development Nexus Evidence and Policy Options State-of-the-Art Overview.” International Migration 40(5): 3-47.

Rahman, Md Mizanur and Lian, Kwen Fee. 2012. “Towards a Sociology of Migrant Remittances in Asia: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 38(4): 689-706.