BLOG SURF: Diaspora bonds

More than 250 million people, or 3% of the world population, live and work outside of their country of origin.

Corresponding to this large stock of migrants, the total remittance flow in the world is estimated to have exceeded $600 billion in 2015, and this number will rise in coming years.

In Asia and the Pacific, remittances amounted to $223 billion in 2014, almost 10 times the $25 billion spent that year on official development assistance in the region. Despite this high volume, however, countries have not yet fully tapped their remittances’ potential for development finance.

This is a missed opportunity, since tapping diaspora resources would enable countries to efficiently raise capital for development projects such as infrastructure or crisis relief, as well as reduce their reliance on official development assistance.

Most of the remittances to the Asia-Pacific region are cash-to-cash, which means they are not held as savings.