The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), disclosed in a report published on Monday in Rome, that the Europe’s 50-million-strong migrant population sent home 110 billion dollars in 2014.
IFAD said that a report from the UN’s rural development bank indicated that the top five senders of so-called migrant remittances were Russia, Britain, German, France and Italy.
It added that the top five beneficiaries were Nigeria, China, Morocco, India and Uzbekistan.
It said that the funds constituted a critical lifeline for millions of individual households, helping families raise their living standards above subsistence and vulnerability levels.
“It will help with improved health, education, housing and levels of entrepreneurship and supporting the livelihood of 150 million people.”
IFAD said that 109.4 billion dollars were wired from rich Western European nations and from Russia to poorer parts of Europe.
It said that the benefiting countries include Balkans and former Soviet bloc countries, Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Asia.
Dr Kanayo Nwanze, the IFAD President, said the figures were released amid growing intra-European tensions on migration.
He said that mostly, with Italy complaining of receiving insufficient solidarity from the EU peers, as it deals with a record number of sea arrivals from North Africa.
Nwanze argued that even though they should not be seen as a substitute for development aid, yet the remittances brought a measure of hope and stability to their countries of origin, and the international community could do more to help maximise their positive effect.
He stated that if the G20 objectives to reduce money transfer costs to five per cent from the current levels of eight per cent were to be met, migrants could send an extra 2.5 billion dollars to help their families back home.
Nwanze said that the immense potential of remittances for development was still largely underutilised.
He said that in spite of this it was within IFAD’s capacity to make every-hard earned euro, ruble, krona or Swiss franc sent home count even more.