For the first time since the global financial crisis, remittance flows to all six developing regions rose in 2011. Growth of remittances in 2011 exceeded our earlier expectations in four regions, especially in Europe and Central Asia (due to higher outward flows from Russia that benefited from high oil prices) and Sub-Saharan Africa (due to strong south-south flows and weaker currencies in some countries that attracted larger remittances). By contrast, growth in remittance flows to Latin America and Caribbean was lower than previously expected, due to continuing weakness in the U.S. economy and Spain. Flows to Middle East and Africa were also impacted by the “Arab Spring”.
Even though remittances to developing countries grew in 2011, they are vulnerable to the uncertain economic prospects in the migrant destination countries. In line with the World Bank’s latest outlook for the global economy, remittance flows to developing countries are expected to grow by 7.3 percent in 2012, 7.9 percent in 2013 and 8.4 percent in 2014, to reach $441 billion by 2014. These forecasted rates of growth are considerably lower than those seen prior to the global financial crisis, when the annual increases in remittances to developing countries averaged 20 percent during 2003 - 08.