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AU Commission hosts a forum on the impact of remittances on rural transformation in Africa

AU Commission hosts a forum on the impact of remittances on rural transformation in Africa

October 11, 2019
Remittances group photo

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 11 October 2019- Recent estimates showed that remittances sent by the over 30 million African migrant workers reached more than US$ 85 billion in 2018, supporting over 200 million family members living back home. Estimates including unregistered flows double this figure.

Against this backdrop, the African Union (AU) hosted the first event of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), in partnership with the African Institute for Remittances (AIR) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) under the theme: ‘The impact of remittances on rural transformation in Africa: from commitments to action’.

The aim of the Forum is to contribute to achieve the international commitments on remittances. The event intends to exchange best practices, foster synergies and discuss challenges and opportunities of migrants' engagement in the countries of origin with all relevant actors in the African remittance market. 

The event addressed by Amb. Mohammed Arrouchi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to the AU and Chair of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, who welcomed the participants of the forum. He further reiterated the importance of remittances as an issue of utmost importance to the African continent and it has a direct impact on the living conditions of our citizens.

“At the 5th Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 16-18 April 2019, participants have stressed that African countries need to do more to raise domestic resources to finance sustainable development, through reducing the cost of remittances” said Amb. Mohammed Arrouchi and concluded by wishing that discussions from the forum will lead to strong recommendations that we can advocate in the near future.

In her keynote address, the Director of Social Affairs Department Mrs. Cisse Mariama speaking on behalf of the Social Affairs Commissioner, H.E. Mrs. Amira Elfadil, thanked all the distinguished delegates from Member States, RECs, UN agencies, partners and other stakeholders represented in this event on remittances.

She expressed her deepest gratitude for the interest and strong commitment shown by all delegates to attend this event as well as supporting Africa to develop and implement concrete strategies and operational instruments to enhance the potential development impact of remittances.

It has been noted that many commitments have been registered at the highest level possible to reduce the costs of remittance transfers, to mention some: the G8 then G20 5 by 5 initiative, the SDG target 10.c: “to reduce to the less than 3% the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5% by 2030”, the Financing for Development’s Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), and Objective 20 of the Global Compact for Migration: “to promote faster, safer and cheaper transfer of remittances and foster financial inclusion of migrants”. “Unfortunately, despite all these commitments made by the international community, the high costs of remittance transactions to and within Africa continue draining significant amount of money from the pockets of migrants and their families” noted Ms. Amira Elfadil.

The Commissioner Ms. Amira Elfadil on behalf of the African Union valued the partnership with all stakeholders to ensure impact of remittances for development. She appreciated IFAD partnership with the African Institute for Remittances for effective implementation of The Platform for Remittances, Investment and Migrant Entrepreneurship in Africa (PRIME Africa). “We strongly believe that PRIME Africa is one of the practical and actionable response in line with the global recommendations and commitments”, added the Commissioner.

The opening session also addressed by Mr. Ulaç Demirag, Regional Director East and Southern Africa at International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) who said that in 2018 an estimated of $528 billion were sent to developing countries by migrants abroad. 

For information related to the meeting please contact:
Mr. Amadou Cissé | Executive Director, African Institute for Remittances| E- mail: CisseA@africa-union.org; amadou.cisse@au-air.org 
 
For media inquiries, please contact:
Mr. Gamal Ahmed A. Karrar | Communications Officer, Directorate of Information and Communication, African Union Commission | E- mail: GamalK@africa-union.org

For further information: Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission I E-mail: DIC@africa-union.org  I Web Site: www.au.int I Addis Ababa | Ethiopia

“If we look at the African context, the data just as impressive. Approximately 60% of Migrants’ remittances were sent to the 55% of the population who still live in rural areas” noted Mr. Ulaç Demirag.
He concluded by highlighting the fact that the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, held in Morocco in December 2018, reaffirmed the role of migration in promoting positive development outcomes, calling member states to promote cheaper, faster and safer remittances.

During the meeting participants will be discussing the following sessions: 

  1. The remittance market in Africa: leveraging inclusive remittance business models and innovation towards cost reduction and increased financial inclusion;
  2. Concrete responses to the international commitments on reducing the costs of remittance transfers and maximizing their impact to development.

The outcome of the forum will directly contribute to build the discussions on one of the thematic priorities (i.e. harnessing migration for rural transformation and development) of the upcoming 12th GFMD Summit, which will be held from 18-22 November 2019 in Quito, Ecuador.

For information related to the meeting please contact:
Mr. Amadou Cissé | Executive Director, African Institute for Remittances| E- mail: CisseA@africa-union.org; amadou.cisse@au-air.org 
 
For media inquiries, please contact:
Mr. Gamal Ahmed A. Karrar | Communications Officer, Directorate of Information and Communication, African Union Commission | E- mail: GamalK@africa-union.org

For further information: Directorate of Information and Communication | African Union Commission I E-mail: DIC@africa-union.org  I Web Site: www.au.int I Addis Ababa | Ethiopia

Images

Remittances group photo
AU Commission hosts a forum on the impact of remittances on rural transformation in Africa