EXCHANGE RATE VARIATIONS AND MIGRANTS’ REMITTANCES TO NIGERIA: 1980-2010

EXCHANGE RATE VARIATIONS AND MIGRANTS’ REMITTANCES TO NIGERIA: 1980-2010

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background of the Study

International economic integration in the early 21st century is conventionally thought ofas increased openness to trade in goods and services, as well as a dramatic increase in the volume of capital flows. In recent years, many developing countries have witnessed significant increases in remittance flows, to the point that their scale has come to dwarf that of other types of capital flows (Adolfo,2010). Remittances are the international financial consequence of immigration. They are an important source of external financing and foreign exchange for developing countries (Yang, 2006). Remittances are becoming increasingly important as a source of foreign income in terms of both magnitude and growth rate, exceeding the inflow of foreign aid and private capital in many countries. They currently represent one third of total financial flows to the developing world (Lartey, et. al. 2010).

Given the shortage of external financing in developing countries, these inflows are welcomed as a means of promoting investment and stimulating growth. International migrant remittances have increased significantlyover the last two decades. Remittances received by developing countries, estimated at $338 billion in 2008 and currently represent nearly 1.9% of total incomein emerging economies (Ratha, Mohapatra, and Silwal,2009). Flows of workers’ remittances appear to have been increasing sharply in magnitude during recent years. While related evidences suggest that most of this increase is real, it is not possible to assess its magnitude conclusively, because part of the increase in recorded flows may simply reflect improved recording systems. Over the last decade, Egypt and Morocco have been the largest recipients on the continent and North Africa as a whole received more than 60 per cent of total transfers. In sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is the largest recipient, taking between 30 and 60 per cent of the region’s receipts. However, economists believe that money sent home by Nigerians in various parts of the world now exceeds


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$1.3 billion annually, ranking second only to oil exports as a source of foreign exchange earnings for the country(World Bank,2011).

Nigeria received $10 billion (about N1.5 trillion) from remittances, followed in a distant second positionby Sudan, with $3.2 billion; Kenya, $1.8 billion; Senegal, $1.2 billion; and South Africa, $1 billion. The report also listed Nigeria among the top 10 emigration countries in the region alongside Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Sudan, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Africa. Remittances to developing countries proved to be a resilient source of external financing during the recent global financial crisis, with recorded flows rising to $325 billion by the end of 2011, up from $307 billion in 2009. The report added that remittance flows worldwide are expected to reach $440 billion by the end of this year (World Bank, 2011).Remittances lead to more investments in health, education, and small businesses. With better tracking of migration and remittance trends, policy makers can make informed decisions to protect and leverage this massive capital inflow, which is triple the size of official aid flows. In line with the World Bank’s outlook for the global economy, remittance flows to developing countries are expected to increase by 6.2 percent and 8.1 percent in 2011 and 2012 respectively, with a projection to reach $374 billion by the end of 2012. The top remittance sending countries in 2009 were the United States, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Russia, and Germany. Worldwide, the top recipient countries in 2010 are India, China, Mexico, the Philippines, and France. As a share of GDP, however, remittances are more significant for smaller countries - more than 25 percent in some countries (World Bank, 2011).

Table 1.1Remittance transfers in different regions of the world

Regions/years

1970

1980

1990

2000

2009

Arab World

211,00

6403,25

11517,91

13219,00

35660,02

East Asia & Pacific (all income

levels)

180,32

2309,49

7257,51

20189,72

97087,50

Europe  &  Central  Asia  (all

income levels)

1387,80

19146,46

34462,18

52753,33

128848,03

Latin America & Caribbean (all


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