Around the world, the money that migrants send home—remittances—is more than twice as large as foreign aid. Remittances to developing countries were estimated at $404 billion in 2013, up 3.5 percent compared with 2012. Growth in remittance flows to developing countries is expected to accelerate to an annual average of 8.4 percent over the next three years, raising flows to $436 billion in 2014 and $516 billion in 2016.
Recognizing the close links between remittances and development, the World Bank Group (WBG) is deepening its engagement on this broad agenda, including through the following activities:
• Mobilizing diaspora financial resources for development. The Bank Group is supporting client efforts to develop financing instruments for leveraging migration and remittances for national development purposes.
• Improving data collection. The Bank Group is working with statistics-gathering agencies to strengthen the collection of data on migration and remittance flows. The WBG publishes a comprehensive dataset on annual remittances data (inflows and outflows), monthly remittances data on selected countries, and estimates of bilateral migration and medical "brain drain" for over 200 countries.
• Strengthening the links between remittances and financial inclusion. The Bank Group is supporting efforts to enhance the integrity of money transfer systems and realize the potential of regular remittance flows to improve access to wider financial services for migrants and remittance recipients.
• Measuring the global average cost of remittances. Through the Remittance Prices Worldwide database, the WBG provides a tool for monitoring progress toward the G-20's 5x5 objective (that is, reducing the cost of remittances by five percentage points). The WBG chairs the Global Remittances Working Group, which was formed in 2008 at the request of G-8 countries to coordinate global activities on remittances.
• Facilitating a reduction in the cost of making remittances. The Bank Group is working to create an enabling environment for the reduction of remittance prices by helping to improve the infrastructure for domestic and cross-border payments, remove legal barriers to the development of sound remittance markets, and foster market competition.