Azimo, the digital money transfer service, is offering a fee-free transfer for all senders on June 16, the UN’s International Day of Family Remittances, after remittance volumes in 2020 beat expectations.
The International Day of Family Remittances was launched in 2015 to raise awareness of the contribution that migrant workers make to the economies of their home countries.
During 2020, despite the challenges caused by COVID-19, the total volume of remittances sent home by migrant workers fell by just 1.6%, a testament to their resilience and hard work. This result was in contrast to a World Bank forecast in April 2020 that global remittances would decline by 20% in 2020.
In Latin America and the Caribbean (+7%), in South Asia (+5%) and in the Middle East and North Africa (+2%), remittance flows actually increased. Individual countries with strong remittance growth included Colombia, Morocco and Bangladesh.
In Pakistan, the Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted to thank overseas Pakistanis for their record-breaking contributions.
Meanwhile, foreign direct investment into low- and middle-income countries sank by more than 30% in 2020. With $540 billion sent in 2020, global remittances outstripped foreign direct investments and overseas development aid combined.
Around half of the funds sent go to rural areas where 75% of the world’s poor and food insecure live. Most of the money is spent on essential goods and services, and indeed more than half of all Azimo transfers are for day-to-day family support.
The theme for the International Day of Family Remittances 2021 is “recovery and resilience through digital and financial inclusion”. One of the catalysts for strong remittance volumes during 2020 was the accelerated adoption of digital money transfer services by migrant workers. Azimo has been an important part of this story since 2012.
“Migrant workers are some of the most entrepreneurial and hard-working people in the world, so the resilience of remittance volumes in 2020 is perhaps not surprising. Without them, many thousands of people would have been without a critical lifeline during a global pandemic” said Richard Ambrose, Azimo CEO.
“Every country has been affected by COVID-19, but the poorest will pay the highest price. Decades of economic gains are under threat, and more than 32 million of the world’s poorest people face being pulled back into extreme poverty. We’re offering all customers a fee-free transfer on June 16 to support hard-working customers sending money to their loved ones.”
“As COVID-19 still devastates families around the world, remittances continue to provide a critical lifeline for the poor and vulnerable,” said Michal Rutkowski, Global Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank.