IDB Hopes To Better Track Latin America, Caribbean Remittances

Hardbeatnews, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. June 29, 2005: Officials of the Inter-American Development Bank and the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies are hoping to track the money sent back to the region by Caribbean and Latin Americans, more accurately.

The two organizations yesterday signed off on a million-dollar agreement to support the tracking project, as the two-day IDB remittance forum got underway here.

The June 28-30 conference at the IDB headquarters in Washington, DC has brought together government officials, executives from banks, credit unions and money transfer companies; leaders of microfinance institutions, migrant associations and other groups interested in remittances.

In recent years, remittances sent by migrant workers have become a major source of hard currency for many countries in Latin America and Caribbean. According to MIF estimates, last year this region received around $45.8 billion from its expatriates.

Despite the magnitude of these flows, the region still lacks a uniform methodology to collect information and statistical data on remittances. The project supported by the MIF aims to fill this gap.
The project will be carried out by the Mexico City-based CEMLA, a regional association of central banks involved in technical assistance, training, information dissemination and research on monetary issues.

The central banks of Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, as well as the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, have expressed interest in taking part in the project.

Central banks from other regions and multilateral agencies will be invited to form an international advisory committee to provide guidance and to coordinate this project with other efforts underway to improve statistics on remittances worldwide.

The MIF expects this project will underscore the importance of remittances and their economic and social impact in the region, promoting greater transparency in money transfer systems, more competition among service providers and greater access to formal financial services for the families that receive these flows.

The MIF, an autonomous fund administered by the IDB, supports economic growth and poverty reduction in Latin America and the Caribbean by encouraging private investment and private sector development in the region. –