India received 87 billion dollars in remittances in 2021, the top remittance recipient, and way ahead of countries like China and Mexico, according to a World Health Organisation report released on Wednesday.

The first WHO World report on the health of refugees and migrants said that today about one in eight people in the world, some one billion, are migrants.

The report by the specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health said that in 2021 the top five remittance recipients in current US dollars were India, China, Mexico, the Philippines and Egypt.

With $87 billion, India was the top remittance recipient among low- and middle-income countries, as per 2021 estimates, way ahead of China and Mexico’s 53 billion dollars, the Philippines (36 billion dollars) and Egypt (33 billion dollars).

The United States was the largest source country for remittances in 2020, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland. Remittances increase or maintain consumer spending and soften the blow of economic hardship, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Remittances are expected to continue growing in 2022, but there are challenges, such as the COVID-19 crisis, which still poses one of the greatest risks to flows to low- and middle-income countries, especially as fiscal stimulus programmes in migrant destination countries cannot continue indefinitely,” the report said.

It said remittances are an “important and positive” economic result of migration for migrants themselves and for family and friends remaining in their home countries.

Once migrants have accessed economic opportunities, they often send remittances to their families. Remittances account for a large fraction of the global movement of funds. Despite predictions that remittances would fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic (in part as a result of travel restrictions and the economic downturn), remittances proved to be resilient.

Remittances now stand at more than threefold above official development assistance and are more than 50 per cent higher than foreign direct investment, excluding in China. This underscores the importance of remittance flows in supporting spending in recipient countries during periods of economic hardship,” the report said.

The economic recovery in 2021 followed the resilience of remittance flows seen in 2020, which declined by a modest 1.7 per cent to $549 billion in the face of one of the deepest global recessions.

In most other areas, remittances have also recovered strongly, registering growth of 5-10 per cent in Europe and Central Asia, the Middle East and northern Africa, southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, but at a slower pace of 1.4 per cent in eastern Asia and the Pacific, excluding China (139).

Source: PTI

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