WASHINGTON - Cash remittances sent home by migrants, a major part of developing world revenue, have grown faster than expected despite the world financial crisis, the World Bank said Tuesday.
In an update to its annual report on remittance flows, the development lender said recorded transfers increased by 12.1 percent last year to $372 billion and are expected to hit $467 billion by 2014.
The report said the growth of remittances had helped developing countries weather the global financial storm but warned that several factors could combine to slow the growth in such transfers in future years.
"Persistent unemployment in Europe and the US is affecting employment prospects of existing migrants and hardening political attitudes toward new immigration," the report said.
"There are risks that if the European crisis deepens, immigration controls in these countries could become even tighter. Volatile exchange rates and uncertainty about the direction of oil prices also present further risks."
The countries receiving the largest sums in remittances from migrants are the developing world's giants India, China and Mexico, but those most reliant on them are more marginal economies.
The former Soviet central Asian republic of Tajikistan, for example, relies on migrants for almost a third of it GDP, just ahead of the landlocked southern African kingdom of Lesotho.
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