Foreign workers in the United Arab Emirates transfer more than US$10 billion (Dhs36.75bn) per annum to their home markets making UAE the second highest performer in the GCC in fund remittance, according to Money Transfer International (MTI), the global trade association.
MTI predicts that the GCC has the potential to drive growth in the remittance sector even though the global economy is in slow down.
Premal Patel, MTI's regional director said: “The GCC region is one of the top five performers of the global remittance industry which is pegged at US$550 billion in 2008.”
He said that according to recent estimates from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) the remittance volume in UAE is expected to lead the increase, and will be up by five per cent this year.
“The UAE is set to play a crucial role in remittance sector growth. During March 2009 alone, the volume of remittance from the UAE to Pakistan topped $174 million.
“Looking further east, more than 40 per cent of all Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are based in the Middle East and 10.5 per cent live and work in the UAE. Remittances to the Philippines from the UAE reached more than $584 million in 2008.”
According to MTI data, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait are the GCC’s best performers, with UAE slated as the third largest sender of remittances, worldwide.
On the back of this anticipated growth in the region, MTI recently launched its Gulf chapter in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Lady Olga Maitland, CEO of MTI said: “The decision to launch MTI Middle East is in direct response from the remittances sector calling for a voice to represent their interests.
She said that MTI’s global network will expand in this year to include four more chapters, including the Philippines and Pakistan, both considered two volume destinations for receiving remittance.
"MTI’s Middle East chapter is geared to facilitate and safeguard the interests of the industry as a whole, be it the consumer, service providers and partners,” concluded Patel.