Expat remittances to the Middle East set to reach $58 billion in 2024

• Expatriate remittances in the MENA region are expected to rebound by 4.3% in 2024 after declining last year due to a drop in remittances to Egypt, the region’s largest recipient.

• Remittances to the region are expected to reach $58 billion in 2024, up from $55 billion last year, according to the World Bank.

Expatriate remittances to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are expected to see a turnaround in 2024, after experiencing a decline in 2023. This decline was primarily driven by a significant drop in remittances sent to Egypt, the region’s largest recipient.

According to a World Bank report, remittances to the MENA region are projected to reach $58 billion in 2024, reflecting a 4.3% increase from the $55 billion recorded in 2023.

This follows a period of steady growth, with remittances reaching a seven-year high of $67 billion in 2021. The World Bank further predicts continued growth, with remittances expected to reach $61 billion in 2025, representing a 5.5% increase from 2024.

Decline in remittances to Egypt in 2023

The 2023 decline in remittances to the MENA region can be attributed largely to a sharp decrease in flows to Egypt. This was caused by a significant disparity between official and parallel exchange rates in the country’s foreign exchange market.

The report highlights that the dollar price reached a peak exceeding EGP 70, leading many to send remittances through unofficial channels.

Recent developments boosting confidence

Recent developments in Egypt, such as the devaluation of the Egyptian currency, interest rate hikes, and the completion of reviews with the International Monetary Fund, have instilled confidence in the possibility of an increase in remittance flows.

Additionally, the influx of investments from the United Arab Emirates has further contributed to this positive outlook.

There is also positive news on the cost of sending remittances to the MENA region. The World Bank reports that the average cost of sending a $200 remittance fell to 5.9% in the fourth quarter of 2023.

This represents a welcome decrease from the 6.7% average cost recorded in the previous year.

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