By Own Correspondent – A World Bank report released Monday on remittances sent by migrants to their families in sub-Saharan Africa titled “Remittances and Migration Factbook 2010” has ranked Gambia as the country with the second largest rate of skilled emigration in Africa.
The report, which is the second edition of an initial volume issued in 2008 that relies on data publicly available from reliable sources, shows that remittances to Gambia will reach an estimated US$61 million in 2010, up from US$60 million the previous year.
“As a share of GDP, remittance inflows amounted to 8 percent of the country’s GDP in 2009,” the report stated, which also ranked the Gambia among the top recipients of remittances as a share of GDP indicated.
The report, which tracks documented private transfers of funds and migratory patterns around the world, estimates that nearly 22 million Sub-Saharan Africans have left the continent. It said Africa also has a higher intra-regional migration rate than the rest of the developing world, with three out of four African migrants living in another country in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The World Bank report revealed that nationals who attended university and have left their country the most are from Cape Verde (68 percent), Gambia (63 percent), Mauritius (56 percent), Seychelles (56 percent), Sierra Leone (53 percent), Ghana (47 percent), Mozambique (45 percent), Liberia (45 percent), Kenya (38 percent), and Uganda (36 percent).
“Africa’s most dynamic migration corridors are Burkina Faso–Côte d’Ivoire (1.3 million migrants), Zimbabwe–South Africa (0.9 million), and Côte d’Ivoire–Burkina Faso (0.8 million). Others include Uganda–Kenya, Eritrea–Sudan, Mozambique–South Africa, Mali–Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo–Rwanda, Lesotho–South Africa, and Eritrea–Ethiopia,” the report stated.
According to the report, nearly 65,000 Gambians are living outside their country in 2010. “Gambia has the second largest rate of skilled emigration in Africa, with 63 percent of its tertiary- educated population living outside the country as of 2000.
The top destination countries for migrants from Gambia are Spain, the United States, Nigeria, Senegal, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Sierra Leone, Norway, and France,” the report said.
The report further stated: “It is estimated that over 290,000 non-Gambians are living in the country in 2010, primarily migrants from Senegal, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, and Sierra Leone.”
The World Bank publication also revealed that remittance flows to Sub-Saharan Africa will reach US$21.5 billion this year after a small decrease in 2009 due to the global financial crisis.
The report shows that Africa-bound flows fell by about four percent between 2008 and 2009, marking the first decrease since 1995.
“We estimate that recovery will continue over the next two years, with remittance flows to the continent possibly reaching about US$24 billion by 2012,” said Dilip Ratha, manager of the Migration and Remittances unit at the World Bank.
Ratha cautions that these numbers are gross underestimates, because millions of Africans rely on informal channels to send money home.
Worldwide, remittance flows are expected to reach US$440 billion by end-2010, up from US$416 billion in 2009. About three-quarters of these funds, or US$325 billion, will go to developing countries. An estimates that flows to developing countries as a whole will rise further over the next two years, possibly exceeding US$370 billion by 2012.
“Remittances are a critical lifeline for families and entire communities across Africa, especially in the aftermath of the global crisis,” Ratha said, adding that the fact that remittances are so large, come in foreign currency and go directly to households, means that these transfers have a significant impact on poverty reduction, funding for housing and education, basic essential needs and even business investment.