Looking back at 2018, from a remittance industry point of view, change has been the only constant. With the advent of time, there is a new wave of innovation in technology, regulations and structure of global remittances. In the era gone by, industry players competed on the premise of geographical footprint and pricing. The latest edition of the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief estimated global remittances of 2018 to reach $700billion as the year ends. Forecasts predict remittances to low and middle income countries to grow at a slower pace of 4% in 2019.
Economic tailwinds and favourable policies paved way for global remittances to increase from $613billion in 2017 to an estimated $700billion in 2018. The rapid penetration of mobile phones has led to rampant adoption of mobile wallets within the remittance space. By 2020, sub- Saharan Africa is expected to see a mobile wallet adoption rate of around 79%. Digital technology is rapidly changing the landscape of the remittance industry.
India ruled the roost in 2018 as the leading remittance recipient with a total of $80billion and was followed by China at $67billion, Mexico and Philippines at $34billion and Egypt at $26billion. Overall remittance flows to Europe and Central Asia were robust in 2018 while remittances to South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific have seen significant growth in 2018.
Remittances to Egypt saw an 8% rise in the first 10 months of 2018. Cameroon too saw remittances peak $300million in 2018. Remittance flows to the Philippines have been strong throughout 2018. It was observed that OFW cash remittances increased by 8.7% to $2.474billion in October 2018.
It could be concluded that 2018 was a good year for remittances as most regions witnessed robust remittance flows. 2019 may pave the way for the remittance industry to spearhead change for better financial inclusion and to bring down the global average cost of sending money to 3% by 2030 as per the UN Sustainable Development Goal.