The World Bank (WB) has revised down its estimation of remittance inflows for 2015 to $7.2 billion, according to its Migration and Development Brief released in April. An earlier report issued in October forecasted the remittances at $7.5 billion, a 2.8 decrease from 2014.
The decline in oil prices has negatively affected remittance inflows especially from Gulf States and oil producing African countries, said Marwan Barakat, Head of Research at Bank Audi. Remittances from expatriates in GCC states account for 55 percent of overall remittance inflows, according to Barakat.
Barakat said that there are indicators that the situation might improve in 2016. Overall financial inflows that include remittances, investment flows, tourism revenues, and other inflows increased 30 percent in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same period last year. Part of the surge in inflows could be attributed to a low base in 2015, Barakat said.
Remittances represented about 14 percent of the country’s nominal GDP for 2015, which is estimated at $51 billion.
“The costs for sending money from GCC countries to the MENA region is well below the regional average, in part due to low-cost services from some commercial banks in these corridors,” according to the new WB report. But this cost remains higher than in countries from OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development).