December 21, 2020

Discussion with Albanian Diaspora in USA: Remittances – A Footprint for Development

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Commemorating the International Day of Migrants, and the role of the Albanian Diaspora in the US to the homeland, on December 18 GERMIN in cooperation with World Bank Albania organized the virtual meeting: Remittances – a Footprint for Development. This event brought together the Albanian American diaspora members and the key stakeholders pertaining to remittances in Albania.

Mr. Mahesh Uttamchandani, the Practice Manager for Financial Inclusion, Infrastructure & Access in the Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation Global Practice at the World Bank Group opened up the discussion by stressing the role of diaspora to the socio-economic impact and to the promotion of the opportunities and knowledge for the countries of origin. Mr. Uttamchandani emphasized the importance of remittances in Albania, which are estimated to be around $ 1.4 billion, accounting to close to 10% of the GDP constituting the largest inflow into the Albanian economy, leaving behind foreign direct investments and exports. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of remittances during the pandemic, while mentioning that remittances are expected to decline by another 7.5% in 2021, on top of the 7.2% decrease in 2020.

Present at this meeting was also the minister of State for Diaspora, Mr. Pandeli Majko which stated: ”The Ministry of Diaspora will work on three key priorities, identifying best practices to channel remittances through formal channels, expanding opportunities to send and receive remittances to reduce costs and make transactions more efficient, and facilitating remittances as an introduction to financial inclusion ”

Sihana Bejtullahu, the Co-Director of Germin welcomed everyone by underlining the importance and the historical background of International Migrants Day. “ Today is an important day especially for us, taking into account the large and increasing number of Albanians living and working in the diaspora. Despite being far from the birthplace or the country of origin, Albanian Diaspora keeps having close ties with the homeland. An important metric in this regard is the number of remittances that they send home on a daily basis.”- said Mrs. Bejtullahu.

Albanian American diaspora members had an opportunity to interact with Mr. Enio Jaço, President, American Chamber of Commerce in Albania; Ms. Argita Frashëri, Director of the Statistics Department, Banka e Shqipërisë; Mr. Mark Kosmo, Chair, Global Albanians Foundation & Germin and representatives from the Albanian Development Fund for the Diaspora.

GERMIN in collaboration with the World Bank is organizing a series of events with the Albanian Diaspora around the world and financial sector experts in Albania to discuss challenges and opportunities related to remittances, as an important catalyst of economic development.

The series is developed in the context of Project Greenback, the financial education component of the Remittances and Payments Program (RPP), funded by the Swiss Secretariat of Economic Affairs (SECO) and implemented by the World Bank in partnership with the Bank of Albania.