Remittances to MEA ‘hit by Arab Spring’
Kuwait, June 19, 2012
While remittances to the MEA region grew by 2.6 per cent in due to the uncertainties triggered by the Arab Spring 2011, GCC accounted for more than 25 per cent of inward remittances to the Mena countries, said experts.
The overall remittance outflows from Kuwait amounted to 8 per cent of its GDP in 2009, delegates said at a conference organised by Western Union, a leader in money transfer and global payment services.
Jean Claude Farah, Western Union’s senior vice president for the Middle East and Africa said, “Despite the uprisings, the MEA region is still witnessing moderate economic growth. The evolution and changes in the political and economic structures of various countries have given rise to certain opportunities.”
“Last year, economic prospects in the entire MEA region have nevertheless improved, with the resumption of capital inflows, rising crude oil prices and the resurgence in domestic consumption.
“The GCC countries have been preferred destinations of recent migrants and we have started to witness an increase in Arab migrants from countries like Yemen and Egypt. The GCC countries sailed through the period of regional unrest nearly unscathed while also experiencing robust economic activity.”
During the conference, a Western Union sponsored study on the “Economic Impact of Uprisings on the Mena Region” conducted by Dr Ahmed Ghoneim, Professor of Economics at Cairo University in Egypt was also released.
Conducted with assistance from Cairo-based, Heba El-Deken, senior economist at American University and Asmaa Ezzat, assistant lecturer at Cairo University, the study highlights the economic ramifications of the uprisings, in addition to providing analysis and policy recommendations for the countries in the Mena Region.
Commenting on the study Farah stated, “As a regional and global leader in money transfer services and solutions, we felt the innate need to grasp and understand the reality of the regional economies and the needs of our customers, who are at the core of everything we do. This study is part of our ongoing research efforts to better understand the markets we operate in and the customers we serve.”
“Whether it is a regional market that receives remittance inflows or sends remittance outflows, or is a source or target of labor migration, the overall economic status and performance of economies in the aftermath of the uprising is crucial to our business strategy and decisions.” – TradeArabia News Services