Harare - Diaspora remittances to Zimbabwe increased by 45 percent to US$658 million during the first nine months of 2020, central bank data shows.
Zimbabwe is among the leading recipients of remittances in Africa south of the Sahara, alongside Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and the DRC.
Remittances are a key source of foreign currency for the southern African nation which has an estimated three million citizens living abroad. In 2019 Zimbabwe received US$635 million in remittances.
According to the World Bank’s Migration and Development Brief for October, remittances for the Sub‐Saharan region were expected to decrease by around 8,8 percent from 2019 figures. In dollar terms, this means a slump from US$48 billion to US$44 billion due to the COVID‐19 pandemic’s impact on the global economy.
“This declining trend is expected to continue in 2021, when remittances are projected to decrease by around 5,8 percent to reach US$41 billion,” the World Bank report said.
It added that the decline in remittance flows was attributed to a combination of factors, all driven by the COVID‐19 crisis in EU countries, the United States, China and the Middle East.
“Sub‐Saharan migrants are disproportionately affected in host countries as many are in precarious working conditions and informal jobs, with high vulnerability to contagion and loss of employment,” the World Bank said.
In addition, “these migrants are often excluded from social protection systems, health care, and government stimulus measures”.