Bank Group Organizes Seminar on Migrant Remittances
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group Vice President for private sector development and infrastructure, Mandala Gantsho, on January 28 in Paris, co-presided over the seminar on migrant transfers to Africa with the Director General of the Treasury and Economic Policy at the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Employment, Xavier Musca. Held on the theme "Migrant Remittances to Africa: From study to action", the objective of the one-day seminar was to present and discuss results of a study financed by the French government and conducted by the AfDB at the request of the French Inter-ministerial Committee for International Co-operation and Development (CICID). The event brought together some 300 participants and lent meaning to the idea that "knowledge-sharing is also a form of development," as underscored by Vice President Gantsho in his inaugural address. Speaking during the closing ceremony, the Director General of the French Development Agency Group, Jean Michel Severino, highlighted how the study allowed for the rectification of the common image of a continent drained as a result of capital flight. The study, Mr. Severin continued, had made it possible to arrest the outward flow of capital from the continent. The study, he added, had assured him of the operational choices his organization was making on these issues as well as the importance of a dialogue involving all stakeholders cited in the report.
The AfDB gives high priority to migrant remittances and their impact on development efforts in Africa. Like other studies, the report points out that migrant remittances are increasingly becoming important to economies of countries with high levels of migration. Despite their importance, financial flows to African countries remain unknown. Several grey areas, however, persist regarding the market structure or the utilization of these resources.
The study provides an overall assessment of financial flows from the Diaspora; identifies mechanisms that govern the remittance market, the determinants of supply and demand; and quantifies the flows and the formal and informal channels that are used, how they are distributed and how they are used. The study also puts into perspective different strategies adopted by various actors involved, migrants, their families, and other financial entities involved. The study focuses on four target countries: Morocco, Senegal, Mali and the Comoros, which have very different socio-economic characteristics. At the same time, they all share strong migratory and historic links with the same developed country - France. The report also addresses the evolution of migrant transfers from neighboring countries, Spain and Italy, and underscores intergenerational behavioral differences.
The study highlights the social, economic and financial importance of migrant remittances in recipient countries. The volume of remittances represents between 9 and 24% of the GDP of countries studied, that is, between 80 and 750% of official development assistance received by such countries.
The study was conducted under the scientific oversight of a steering committee coordinated by Mr. Mohamed Bourenane, Division Manager in the Private Sector and Micro-finance Department of the African Development Bank.
The steering committee included, among others, the French Ministry of Economy, Finance and Employment – Department of the Treasury and Economic Policy; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Department of International Cooperation and Development; the Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Co-development; the French Development Agency; and the European Investment Bank.
Survey and analytical work was conducted by a team from the BDPA consulting firm coordinated by Mr. Ludovic Houssard. Fieldwork was conducted under the direction of Ms. Fatma Diarra (France) and Messrs. Ludovic Houssard (Comoros), Jamal Khalil (Morocco), Cheikh Amidou Kane (Senegal) and Moussa Sidibe (Mali).