The United Kingdom and Switzerland have called on countries to work together to ensure that people can continue to send money to relatives in other countries during a coronavirus outbreak.
This joint call highlights the urgent need for people to be able to continue access to money transfer services and for the government to ensure that these funds reach those who depend on this assistance.
Both the United Kingdom and Switzerland are urging countries to have more access to digital remittance services and to declare remittances as a necessary financial service. They are also encouraging remittance service providers to reduce costs and fees for payers.
Sending individuals to families and friends living in low- and middle-income countries total 554 billion in 2019 and is an important way of life to boost economic growth and lift people out of poverty in many developing countries.
However, the coronavirus is already having a major impact, with lower wages for migrant workers and coronavirus restrictions making it more difficult for people to access money transfer services.
The World Bank predicts that remittances to low- and middle-income countries will fall by 20% by 2020, to a total of 110 billion.
The call from the United Kingdom and Switzerland was supported by partners, including the World Bank, the UN Capital Development Fund, the UN Development Program and international organizations on migration. Several countries have already joined, including Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistan.