Bishkek, September 10, 2012 – Today a two-day “Remittances: accuracy and benefits” conference started in Cholpon-Ata to highlight the role of remittances in the development of the countries of origin. The conference was initiated by the World Bank within MIRPAL regional program with the Bank of Russia co-hosting and participating.
Around 50 participants came to Cholpon-Ata, including international experts in labor migration and remittances issues, as well as national banks’ lead economists and government representatives from 8 MIRPAL member countries – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine. The main objective – as the organizers define it – is to help build synergy between experts and policymakers.
Two parallel sessions are organized within the conference. One of them is to focus on the links between remittances and development of the countries of origin. A number of experts will share the outcomes of the recent surveys, speak on latest tendencies and projections for remittances flows, and then answer the questions during the open discussion. The other session chaired by the Bank of Russia is to be more technical by nature. Two days will be devoted to discussions about existing methods of estimating remittances, followed by bilateral comparison of data and final signing protocol on the results of comparison.
"Despite the importance of remittances for most CIS countries, we still have many challenges in terms of estimating it and understanding its short term dynamics. In several Central Asian countries the flow of foreign exchange from remittances far exceeds that from exports, FDI and ODA,” says Sudharshan Canagarajah, World Bank Lead Economist and MIRPAL Program Coordinator, opening the conference. – “The objective of MIRPAL community of practice is to better understand and address these challenges. This workshop brings together Central Bank of Russia experts and World Bank experts to help CIS countries improve the estimation of remittance data and understand its implications for economic growth.”
Marina Kislitsyna, the Deputy Head of the the Bank of Russia’s Balance of Payments Department, noted in her opening remarks that “the objectives of the experts working on the remittances statistics are not limited to ongoing improvement in ensuring data accuracy. An important part of our work is to increase statistical literacy and promote the use of the remittances data among the decision makers.”
The agenda of the conference includes such topics as economic impact of remittances, improving payment systems, financial literacy. The participants are expected to expand their knowledge on how to make labor migrants’ remittances more efficient for countries of origin. At the same the conference will serve a platform for jointly seeking for solutions to existing challenges limiting development impact of remittances in each specific country.
MiRPAL is a peer-assisted learning network for migration practitioners in the CIS countries and is set up to collect, analyze, deepen, create, and share knowledge on migration issues as well as provide a forum for cross-country collaboration as a means to refine and harmonize approaches in order to initiate and guide CIS migration policies and practices. Currently, MiRPAL brings together nine CIS countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. More information can be found at: www.worldbank.org/eca/migration and www.worldbank.org.