Mena Remittances Up 10% In 2017

Remittances are a crucial lifeline to the region’s cash-strapped oil importing economies.

Thanks largely to Cairo’s floatation of the Egyptian Pound in late 2016, Mena remittance inflows topped $56bn in 2017 after having fallen year-on-year since 2014. Egyptian inflows hit $20bn according to World Bank estimates, up from $16.6bn in 2016—a 20% increase year-on-year (see chart 1).

Egypt’s economy now appears on the upswing, with 5.2% growth projected for 2018 ( MEES, 25 May ). S&P upgraded its Egypt rating earlier this month citing amongst other factors “resilient remittances from Egyptians working abroad”—itself a product of liberalization of the currency. Prior to the floatation, workers were reluctant to send back their hard-earned cash and see huge losses stemming from an artificially inflated currency. So funds were either transferred via the black market or withheld altogether. (CONTINUED - 747 WORDS)


chart 1: 2017 Remittance Inflows: Egypt On Top, With Bulk Sent From Mena ($Bn)
chart 2: Mena’s Vulnerable Economies Depend Heavily On Remittance Inflows (%GDP)
chart 3: 83% Of Egypt’s Inflows Come From Mena ($Bn)