Diaspora remittances expected to hit record US$1.3 billion by year-end

  • Last year they were recorded at US$1 billion
  • In the first half of 2021 they tripled to US$747 million
  • Pandemic forcing the use of formal channels in remitting

Harare – Remittances from the diaspora to Zimbabwe are expected to reach US$1.3 billion by the end of 2021 on the back of key source economies recovering from the impact of COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns introduced to curb it.

This was revealed by the minister of finance and economic development, Mthuli Ncube during his mid-term budget review presentation yesterday (July 29, 2021).

“Personal transfers from Zimbabweans in the diaspora are expected to remain steady and resilient as the economies in key source markets recover from the Covid-19 induced slow-down, allowing them to invest in assets back home,” he said.

Last year remittances closed at US$1 billion which was 58% ahead of the figure recorded in 2019 and were the country’s second foremost source of foreign currency.

In its latest Zimbabwe Economic Update (ZEU) the World Bank said this huge amount of diaspora funding contributed immensely to the country’s resilience to regional and global trade shocks and volatility.

“Despite trade disruptions and the sharp decline in global economic activity caused by the pandemic, Zimbabwe’s current account remained in surplus at 5.3% in 2020.

“A key driver of the surplus was remittances in 2020, which saw a growth of 58 percent. The growth in formal remittances may reflect the shift to greater use of formal channels for remittance delivery due to the pandemic,” the World Bank said.

The minister’s projections for this year seem largely plausible and may even be surpassed after diaspora remittances recorded in the first half of the year came in at about US$747 million, compared to only US$288.7 million received during the same period last year.

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