Ethiopia’s earnings from remittances in 2015 have hit record high reaching $3.7b, exceeding the total contribution of foreign donors in the same year, the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Friday.The ministry said remittances earned during the concluding year have beaten the income realized from the export sector in the same year.
Making the announcement, Demeke Atnafu, Director General of the Diaspora Information and Research Directorate at the ministry said the country has never received remittances amounting to the level reached through the course of 2015.
Remittance earnings for Ethiopia in the fiscal year also exceeded funds that the nation has received from donors in the same year, he added.
Demeke said the country plans to maximize the level of foreign remittance in the intervening couple of years as potentials in the sector have not been fully exploited.
â€œEthiopia’s remittance service is still at a low level compared with other countries,â€� the official said referring to India’s earnings of $70 billion in 2014.
Demeke indicated that â€˜Western Union and MoneyGram were the dominant money transfer service providers which have signed agreements with the National Bank.
â€˜Nowadays the number of money transfer providers is increasing” he indicated.
40 percent of the remittances to Ethiopia came from North America, Mussie Delelegn, Chief of Land Locked Developing Countries’ Section in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said.
However, according to representatives of the Regional Diaspora offices illegal migration is hampering efforts to raise earnings from remittances as most Ethiopians who reside especially in South Africa and Saudi Arabia were unable to send money legally due to lack of residence and work permits.
These groups of people are forced to use illegal money transfer systems, according to them.
It was indicated that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Diaspora Directorate is working with the National Bank of Ethiopia to alleviate the problems related to remittances from illegal migrants.