BEIRUT: Lebanon ranked second on the list of Arab countries receiving remittances in 2015, with money transfers reaching $7.2 billion, said Wissam Fattouh, secretary-general of the Union of Arab Banks.
“Lebanon ranked second among Arab countries following Egypt, which also ranked in the seventh place globally, with expatriates’ remittances reaching $19.7 billion in 2015,” he said over the weekend.
“This figure constitutes 40.4 percent of total expatriates’ remittances to Arab countries,” he added.
Fattouh said that the drop in oil prices and economic slowdown in oil-producing Arab countries triggered a small drop in remittances to Lebanon at a rate of 3.3 percent in 2015, compared to a drop of 8.4 percent in 2014.
Fattouh noted that GCC countries, except for Bahrain, are among the 20 biggest countries worldwide that make money transfers, with Saudi Arabia ranking second following the United States. “The volume of money sent from around 29 million foreign workers in GCC countries reached around $98 billion in 2014,” he said. “Most of this money goes to Arab countries and the rest go to India, the Philippines and Pakistan,” he added.
He also added that money transfers to Yemen reached $3.4 billion in 2015, equivalent to 7 percent of total remittances to the Arab world, followed by Tunisia at $2.4 billion, which is equivalent to 4.8 percent of total remittances to Arab countries. He said the World Bank did not issue any figures on the volume of money transfers to Syria.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 20, 2016, on page 15.