Nigerians in diaspora sent home in $21 billion in 2015 to become the sixth largest receiver of remittances in the world. Nigeria is also by far the largest receiver of remittances in sub-Saharan Africa, receiving a total of $34.8 billion last year.
The report, which relied on data gathered from January to December 1, 2015, was compiled by the Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development with support from the World Bank, German, Swedish and Swiss governments. The United States and the United Kingdom are by far the most lucrative destinations for Nigerian migrants. Nigerians at home received a total of $9.4 billion ($5.7 billion from the US and $3.7 billion from the UK) from both countries in 2015.
According to the report, the U.S. is the top remittance-sending country in the world. A total of $56.3 billion was sent out of the US to other parts of the world. The second largest remittance-sending country is Saudi Arabia with $36.9 billion followed by Russia ($32.6 billion), Switzerland ($24.7billion) and Germany ($20.8 billion).
Undeterred by the security challenges the country is presently wading through, Nigerians in the Diaspora continued to remit billions of dollars into their motherland on yearly basis. Next to petrodollars, the second biggest source of foreign exchange earnings for Nigeria is remittance from Nigerians from abroad.
Between 2011 to June 2014, Nigerians in the Diaspora had remitted about $63.17 billion (N10.35 trillion) into the country. Analysis of remittances showed that $11billion (N1.8 trillion) was remitted in 2011; $21 billion (N3.44 trillion) in 2012, $20.77 billion (N3.40 trillion) in 2013 and $10.40 billion (N1.7 trillion) in the first half of 2014.
A private study revealed that no fewer than 17.5 million Nigerians are residing in foreign lands with the UK and the USA having more than 2 million Nigerians each in their domains. Notwithstanding the fact that the government lacked accurate figure of its citizens abroad, the impacts of the estimated Diaspora Nigerians in their domiciled countries cannot be down played, showing further that if this avenue is fully harnessed, the Nigerian economy will be better off.
Analysts were of the opinion that the remittances are largely personal transactions from migrants to their friends and families, and are thus likely to be well targeted to the needs of their recipients.
According to the World Bank, some of the money sent home by the Nigerian the Diaspora is going into informal socio-economic development activities like payment for services like health, housing, business start-ups and education. A report from the bank’s Population Reference Bureau said most of the money sub-Saharan migrant workers send home is spent on education, health care, buying land, building houses, starting business or improving farms.