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bird TenX: 10 African countries with highest diaspora remittance inflows

REMITTANCES sent back to Africa are a considerable growth pillar for the continent and are currently nearly double the total value of aid. The top 10 countries listed here each have remittance inflows of more than US$1 billion.

AFRICA’S growing diaspora community is increasingly becoming an important pillar for the growth and stability of local economies as the never-ending search for “greener pastures” sees Africans in the diaspora sending home almost double the amount that flows to Africa as foreign aid.

Employment and education are among the biggest factors pushing Africans abroad, be that within Africa’s borders, or “overseas”. Many of those who leave Africa’s shores end up being successful and send money home to sustain relatives or to build homes and even businesses.

Over the years, remittances sent back to the continent have increased significantly in recent decades. World Bank data shows inflows to Africa totalled over US$94.8 billion in 2023, a drop from US$100.1 billion in 2022 that reflects the slowing pace of growth in high-income economies where many African migrants earn their income.

Even with this drop, the inflows are still almost double the amount of foreign aid to African countries, which totalled US$53.5 billion in 2022.

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Positive economic indicators in many African countries, where growth rates are higher than anywhere other than Asia, are seen further encouraging remittances, with Africans overseas seeing investment opportunities on the continent.

Similarly, the Egyptian government is encouraging formal money transfers for the diaspora through measures such as no tax on remittances, offering land and housing for payment in US dollars, bank savings products, and promoting digital channels to counter the impact of forex fluctuations and inflation.

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Additionally, some African countries have made overseas work easier through arrangements with foreign countries. Kenya, for example, has created over 400,000 professional career opportunities abroad through its “economic airlift program” as part of bilateral ties.

To provide a clearer picture of where remittances are being sent, bird story agency has compiled a list of the top 10 African countries with the highest diaspora remittance inflows by the close of 2023, as reported by the World Bank.

1. Egypt The North African country is projected to have received a whopping US$24.2 billion, which is the largest amount on the African continent. The Middle East is the largest source of remittances, with Saudi Arabia the top destination for Egyptian expatriates. Egypt also receives significant inflows from its professionals working in Kuwait, the UAE, and Qatar.

2. Nigeria Is Africa’s second largest destination for remittances, with inflows of some US$20.5 billion. Nigeria’s five main sources for remittances include the United States, the United Kingdom, Cameroon, Italy, and Niger.

3. Morocco With a total of US$12.1 billion sent in 2023, remittances to Morocco have consistently been higher than the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI). Remittances are also a significant source of income for Moroccan families during challenging times, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and natural disasters such as earthquakes. France, Spain, and Italy are the largest sources of remittances to Morocco.

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4. Ghana This country received US$4.9 billion in remittances, equivalent to some 6.4% of the country’s GDP. The main sources of remittances for Ghana were the United States, the United Kingdom, neighbouring country Ivory Coast, Italy, and Germany.

5. Kenya The East African economy received a total of US$4.2 billion in remittances. Significantly, in the first 10 months of 2023, the country witnessed a doubling of remittances from Uganda and Zambia. There was also an increase from Ivory Coast (60%) and from Nigeria (62%). The value of remittances is now closing in on the value of Kenya’s exports such as coffee, tea and horticulture, which brought in US$5.7 billion. Top sources of remittances to Kenya include the United States, Europe, and Asia.

6. Zimbabwe Zimbabwe received US$3.1 billion from an estimated 2.5 to 3 million Zimbabweans living in other countries, mostly in Africa. South Africa is the most popular destination for the country’s migrants.

7. Senegal The country recorded US$2.9 billion in remittances, equivalent to 9.4% of its GDP. The top three destinations for Senegalese migrants are France, The Gambia, and Italy.

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8 Tunisia The country received US$ 2.7 billion from Tunisian migrants, with many working in France, Italy, Germany, and Libya.

9. Algeria Algeria received US$1.8 billion from migrants working in countries such as France, Italy, Germany, and Libya, in a pattern very similar to that of Tunisia.

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10. DR Congo The DRC closes the top 10 list, recording some US$1.4 billion in inflows from a diaspora community mainly in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, France, the USA, Italy and Belgium.

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Graphics: Vikki Keingati, bird story agency

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By CONRAD ONYANGO, BIRD STORY AGENCY

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