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Nigeria Leads Africa in 2023 Remittance Inflows Amid Regional Shifts

IN 2023, African countries collectively received $72.5bn in remittances, reflecting the critical role of these funds in the continent’s economies. North Africa emerged prominently, with four countries among the top ten recipients, while West and East Africa also showed significant representation.

Overall, remittance flows to sub-Saharan Africa reached $54bn in 2023, a slight dip of 0.3 percent from the previous year. However, projections indicate a 1.3 percent rise in 2024, signalling continued reliance on these funds for economic stability, according to the World Bank.

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The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region experienced a 15 percent drop in remittance costs, primarily due to a decrease in remittances to Egypt. This decline was attributed to the diversion of funds from official to unofficial channels, driven by the disparity between the official exchange rate and the parallel market rate.

Top remittance recipients in Africa for 2023:

  1. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
  • Total remittances: $1.4bn
  • GDP share: 2 percent
  • The DRC maintained steady remittance inflows since 2021, emphasising the consistent support from its diaspora.
  1. Algeria
  • Total remittances: $1.86bn
  • GDP share: 0.8 percent
  • Algeria saw a slight increase in remittances compared to the previous year, reflecting ongoing financial support from abroad.
  1. Tunisia
  • Total remittances: $2.65bn
  • GDP share: 5.2 percent
  • Tunisia experienced a 5.5 percent decline in remittances from 2022, highlighting economic challenges affecting diaspora contributions.
  1. Senegal
  • Total remittances: $2.94bn
  • GDP share: 9.3 percent
  • Senegal faced a minor decrease in remittances, underscoring the need for diversified economic strategies.
  1. Zimbabwe
  • Total remittances: $3.08bn
  • GDP share: 9.6 percent
  • Zimbabwe’s stable remittance inflows underscore the diaspora’s crucial role in supporting the nation’s economy.
  1. Kenya
  • Total remittances: $4.16bn
  • GDP share: 3.8 percent
  • Kenya witnessed a slight increase in remittances, reinforcing its position as a significant East African recipient.
  1. Ghana
  • Total remittances: $4.63bn
  • GDP share: 6.2 percent
  • Ghana maintained steady remittance inflows, demonstrating the resilience of its diaspora network.
  1. Morocco
  • Total remittances: $11.75bn
  • GDP share: 8.2 percent
  • Morocco saw a marginal increase in remittances, highlighting its strong ties with its overseas community.
  1. Egypt
  • Total remittances: $19.53bn
  • GDP Share: 5.0 percent
  • Egypt experienced a significant decline of 31 percent from 2022, primarily due to the shift from official to unofficial remittance channels.
  1. Nigeria
  • Total remittances: $19.55bn
  • GDP share: 4.0 percent
  • Nigeria led Africa in remittance inflows, slightly surpassing Egypt despite a decline from the previous year’s figures.

Regional insights and future projections

Remittance flows to sub-Saharan Africa are projected to increase by 1.3 percent in 2024, signalling a positive outlook for the region. However, challenges remain, especially in North Africa, where exchange rate disparities and economic policies significantly influence remittance behaviours.

Remittances remain a vital financial lifeline for many African countries, providing essential support for households and contributing to economic stability. While Nigeria emerged as the top recipient in 2023, regional variations highlight the diverse challenges and opportunities across the continent. Continued monitoring and supportive policies will be crucial in maximising the benefits of remittances for sustainable development in Africa.

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