Remittances to Latin America, Caribbean rise 10% in 2023

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By Marco Echevarria

The Inter-American Development Bank has reported a significant rise in remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean, with a 9.5% increase projected for 2023. This boost follows the $142.4 billion recorded in 2022. Remittances, a crucial financial service, enable individuals to transfer funds across borders, often used by immigrants for supporting families in their home countries.

Countries like Nicaragua have notably benefited, experiencing a 13.2% surge in remittances in 2023. Other nations, including Argentina and Paraguay, have also seen substantial increases. Mexico remains the largest recipient within the region, garnering 41.2% of all remittances sent to Latin American and Caribbean nations. Central America, the Caribbean, and South America observed respective remittance growths of 13.2%, 2.6%, and 7.9%.

The report attributes this uptrend to the migration towards the U.S. and a robust American economy. Factors such as higher average weekly salaries and an expanded employed labor force in the immigrant population have significantly contributed to this increase. The report highlights the correlation between the growth in immigrant income and the surge in remittances.

Additionally, remittances from Spain have risen by 9.7% in the second quarter of 2023, aligning with a 4.4% increase in Latin American and Caribbean migrants in Spain. This growth continues a trend observed since 2018, partly influenced by technological advancements. The Migration Policy Institute notes that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of fintech solutions, enhancing the efficiency and reducing the costs of remittance services.

The advent of digital remittances has revolutionized the process, transitioning from in-person transactions at banks or money transfer agents to integrated banking platforms and dedicated apps. Jose Arturo Villanueva, the founder of Alza, a banking platform with integrated remittance services, emphasized the convenience and versatility of digital remittances. Recipients can now receive funds directly into their bank accounts, as cash pickups, or onto debit cards in various countries, making the process more accessible and user-friendly.