UNECA - United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

10/06/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/06/2020 11:00

ONE and ECA Report on Remittances urge governments to help preserving this Lifeline for Africa hindered by the COVID-19

October 6, 2020 Addis Ababa/Abuja - The anti-poverty organisation ONE and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), launched a new report titled, Preserving remittances in the time of COVID-19, highlighting the severe impact which the global Covid-19 pandemic has had on remittance inflows to Africa, mainly due to the situation of migrants in the countries mostly affected.

The report notes that remittances have steadily increased over the past few decades and have become the main financial inflow in developing countries, surpassing foreign aid, private capital flows and foreign direct investment. However, due to the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused a global economic downturn, remittance flows to Africa are projected to decline by 21 per cent in 2020. That could mean $18 billion less going to people who rely on that money.

Commenting on the report, ONE in Nigeria Director Serah Makka stated: 'As countries from across the globe are faced with the worst recession since World War II, we are witnessing some of the most economic hardships, particularly for those in poor countries. Many families in Africa who rely on remittance flows will be hit the most, during an already difficult period. Over 22% decrease in remittances, which is a critical source of income for many households. We call on G20 Finance Ministers to amend their National Remittance Plans, including bank regulations, to reduce costsof sending remittances to close to 0 per cent until the pandemic ends. This way we can ensure remittance costs do not exceed 3 per cent as agreed in the Sustainable Development Goals and save millions of families from utter financial crippling.

The Director of the ECA's Regional Integration and Trade Division (RITD), Stephen Karingi said: 'In Africa, one out of five people sends or receives international remittances. The COVID-19 has severely impacted on remittance inflows to Africa that could decline by 21 per cent in 2020, implying $18 billion less will go to the people who rely on that money. It is therefore critical to preserve this essential lifeline for Africa. As the world enters an incomparable economic downturn, remittance flows will be more important than ever for the poorest and most vulnerable people, in particular those without access to economic and social safety nets. Governments across the world should take effective action to facilitate and boost remittances flows in view of supporting the fight against COVID-19 and ultimately building a more sustainable post-pandemic world.'

The launch of the report can be viewed on CNBC Africa's livestream page here: https://www.cnbcafrica.com/live/

Download the full report here: https://www.uneca.org/joint-one-campaign-eca-report-launch2020

For more information and interview requests contact [email protected] (ONE) and [email protected]

About ONE

ONE is a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030, so that everyone, everywhere can lead a life of dignity and opportunity. We are non-partisan and pressure governments to do more to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa, and empower citizens to hold their governments to account.

About ECA

Established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN's five regional commissions, ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development.