Kenya tops in migrant cash remittances By BENON HERBERT OLUKA Special Correspondent THE EAST AFRICAN A World Bank report has named Kenya and Uganda among sub-Sahara Africas top 10 recipients of migrant remittances for the second year running. The report, titled Migration and Remittances Factbook 2008, says Kenya was the second highest recipient of remittances in 2007 with $1.3 billion, up from the $1.1 billion that the country received in 2006. Nigeria was the highest recipient, with $3.3 billion. Other recipients in the top 10 were Sudan with $1.2 billion, Senegal and Uganda with $0.9 billion each, South Africa $0.7 billion, Lesotho $0.4 billion, Mauritius $0.2 billion, Togo $0.2 billion and Mali $0.2 billion. The report provides snapshots of statistics on migration, recorded remittances flows, and skilled emigration for 194 countries and 13 regional income groups. Inward remittances for all developing countries stood at $10.3 billion in 2006 and $10.8 billion in 2007, accounting for less than 2 per cent of their average gross domestic product. In the case of Kenya, says the report, the remittances in 2006, all of which came from workers, constituted 5.3 per cent of the countrys GDP. According to the report, by 2005, Kenyas immigrant population was 1 per cent of the countrys total population. Uganda, on the other hand, emerged the fifth highest recipient of migrant remittances in 2007 with $0.9 billion, up by $0.1 billion from 2006 when it also featured among sub-Saharan Africas top 10 remittance recipients. For Uganda, where the immigrant population is 0.5 per cent of the total population, inward remittances constituted 8.7 per cent of the GDP in 2006. The report says that remittances to both Uganda and Kenya have risen steadily over the past seven years. In 2000, inward remittances to Uganda stood at $238 million, while those to Kenya were at $538 million. For Tanzania, the inward remittances, currently accounting for 0.1 per cent of the GDP, have stagnated at $14 million for both 2006 and 2007 having fallen by $4 million from $18 million in 2005. Rwandas inward remittances, which accounted for 0.8 per cent of the countrys GDP in 2006, have also stagnated at $21 million since 2005 having risen from $10 million of 2004. Rwandas migrant population is 2.2 per cent of the countrys total population. A statement from the World Bank said that for 2007, recorded remittances worldwide were estimated at $318 billion, of which $240 billion went to developing countries. The report lists the worlds top five recipients of migrant remittances in 2007 as India ($27 billion), which also had the worlds largest migration population of 5.7 million; China ($25.7 billion); Mexico ($425 billion); Philippines ($17 billion) and France (12.5 billion). In many countries, remittances provide a lifeline for the poor, says Dilip Ratha, a senior World Bank economist, and co-author of the factbook with Zhimei Xhu. They are often an essential source of foreign exchange and a stabilising force for the economy in turbulent times. For many sub-Saharan countries, however, the remittance figures are also an indicator of the high levels of brain drain that have deprived these countries of some of their finest brains. In Uganda, for instance, statistics showed a ratio of one doctor to 13,000 people, while that of nurses is 1:1,818 people, even as hundreds of Ugandan medical practitioners are working outside the country. The World Bank report also notes that, in 2000, the emigration rate for people with tertiary education stood at 26.3 per cent in Kenya, 21.6 per cent in Uganda, 19.9 per cent in Burundi, 19 per cent in Rwanda and 15.8 per cent in Tanzania. The report further notes that while international immigration is dominated by the voluntary movement of people, there were 13.5 million refugees and asylum seekers, constituting about 7 per cent of global immigrants, in 2005. The share of refugees was 14.3 per cent in low-income countries over five times as large as in high-income European countries, says the report.