Remittances play a significant role in the economies of some countries because of the impact the inflow of money has on growth. The World Bank, which tracks global remittance data, monitors this effect by comparing a country’s incoming remittances with gross domestic product (GDP)- a universally recognised indicator of growth that measures the value of goods and services produced by a country. Economies in developed countries are usually driven by public expenditure, exports and business investment, but those of developing nations tend to be less advanced, so they rely heavily on money sent home by expats. Here are the top five, according to the World Bank1.
Nepal is the country that relies most on remittances which make up nearly a third of the country’s GDP (32.2%). However, the percentage of Nepal’s population living overseas (2.5% according to the latest figures published by the United Nations2) is the smallest on this list. The greatest inflows come from Qatar, closely followed by Saudi Arabia, while Nepalese workers in neighbouring India also send a significant amount of money home.
West African country Liberia comes second on our list, with remittances contributing 31.2% to GDP. Other than Bermuda, Liberia has the highest percentage of citizens living abroad (over 11%). More than half of remittances come from the United States, while Liberia also receives sizeable inflows from Africa, particularly two of the countries it borders, the Ivory Coast and Guinea.
Former Soviet state Tajikistan comes third on our list, where remittances make up just short of 29% of GDP. Once again, a relatively high percentage of the country’s population lives outside its borders (a tad over 6%) with the vast majority heading for Russia. As you might expect, Russia accounts for most of the remittances flowing back into Tajikistan (more than $1.7 billion).
Another former Soviet state, the Kyrgyz Republic, comes fourth with remittances accounting for just over a quarter of GDP. Again, a relatively high percentage of the country’s population has moved overseas (8.5%) with the majority ending up in Russia. Expats in Russia send the most money home by far (slightly short of $1.3 billion).
Bermuda rounds out the top five at 25%. The island has a tiny population of just over 65,000 according to the World Bank3, so there are more Bermudians living abroad (71,352). The highest inflows of remittances come from expats in the US, who sent nearly a billion dollars home in 2016.
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