International remittances by migrants have increased by 650% in last 20 years- IOM

The Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Amy Pope, says that migration significantly contributes to economic resilience, growth, and prosperity.

According to her, international remittances have increased by a staggering 650% over the last 20 years, noting that remittances, which stood at $128 billion in 2000, have more than quadrupled since then.

She noted this whilst speaking in Lagos at the opening of the 2024 International Dialogue on Migration, where she highlighted that migrants often provide solutions to some of the world’s most critical challenges, including climate change.

The dialogue, themed “Facilitating Regular Pathways to a Better Future: Harnessing the Power of Migration,” was organized by the IOM.

Migration as a catalyst for sustainable development

Pope explained that the 2030 Agenda recognizes migration as a potent catalyst for sustainable development due to its numerous benefits such as economic prosperity, skill exchange, labour force strengthening, and cultural diversity.

“This is based on evidence; overwhelming evidence backs this up, and one example is highlighted in our recent World Migration Report.

“Today, $831 billion comes back to countries in the form of remittances. Of this, $647 billion were sent by migrants to low and middle-income countries.

“We know that, for many of these countries, these remittances constitute a significant portion of their GDP and, in fact, surpasses direct foreign investment,” Pope said.

However, Pope noted that the benefits of migration should not be viewed solely in terms of what migrants can contribute to countries or communities.

She explained that the relationship between migration and development is complex and influenced by the political, social, and economic dynamics of potential destination countries, which shape how, where, and when migration occurs.

Pope emphasized that discussions about investment should also focus on investing in people and migration. She advocated for the creation of safe and regular migration pathways that minimize the risk of exploitation and ensure the protection of migrants’ human rights and dignity.

These pathways should also guarantee that migrants have access to essential services in their destination countries.

”Regular pathways can facilitate integration into communities and safely connect people, goods, services, knowledge and innovation.

“When migration is poorly governed, it can negatively impact on development, and that is why facilitating pathways is one of our top strategic objectives.

“Our goal is to ensure that migration and migrants’ needs are considered across all policy areas and across all laws and regulations – from health to urban planning, education, fiscal policy and trade,” she said.

She urged governments and other stakeholders to put in place programmes that would deliver assistance and protection and raise awareness among migrants about options, rights, and services available to them.


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