Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean

Apr 1, 2006

Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean

by Donald Terry, Manager, and Pedro de Vasconcelos, Coordinator, Remittance Program
Multilateral Investment Fund

Call it the case of the missing billions. For decades, millions of migrant workers have been sending billions of dollars back to their home countries to support their families. Yet the impact of these huge international flows of both money and workers is only now beginning to be understood even though these flows of both money and people have been hidden in plain sight for decades. Why?  Because the money is sent regularly in small amounts, usually outside the formal financial system; and the workers typically live on the margins of society.

All of this is now changing.  Remittances are widely recognized as critical to the survival of millions of individual families, and the health of many national economies throughout Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Unlike foreign aid,...

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