Remittances: implications for development

Remittances are the most measurable outcome of international migration. South and South-West Asia is one of the world’s largest subregions in terms of population and from a global perspective, it ranks number one among subregions in terms of remittance receipts and dependence on remittances. Of the total remittances transferred to the Asia-Pacific region in 2010, some 40 per cent were sent to destinations in the subregion. Remittances have notably taken a greater role in the development agenda during the past decade in line with a large increase in receipts.

The Monterrey Consensus of the International Conference on Financing for Development, held in 2002, recognized remittances as a tool for Financing for Development in the Monterrey Consensus,2 while the Doha Declaration on Financing for Development stated that remittances have become “significant private financial resources for households in countries of origin of migration”.3

Many economies in South and South-West Asia rely on remittances as an important source of foreign exchange and to keep current account deficits at manageable levels. At the household level, they serve as an informal social security system, often used to cover food, education and health-care costs. Moreover, households with remittances can often afford more nutritious food and pay for better quality schooling.


1 Vanessa Steinmayer, Social Affairs Officer, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

2 See

3 Doha Declaration on Financing for Development, Paragraph 29. Available from