Jamaican Remittances Rose by 20 Percent in 2020
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Jamaican Remittances Rose by 20 Percent in 2020

Jamaican Remittances Rose by 20 Percent in 2020

According to a report from the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ), the amount of total remittances for the period from January 1 to December 31, 2020, was US$2.91 billion. This represented an increase of 20 percent over the same period in 2019, which totaled US$2.47 billion. In December of 2020, net remittances totaled US$282.4 million, an increase of US$79.9 million, or 39.5 percent, over the total amount in December 2019. The BOJ attributed that increase to a rise in gross remittance inflows of 35.3 percent (US$78.7 million) helped by a reduction of 6.2 percent (US$1.2 million) in outflows. The rise in gross remittance inflows stemmed from an improvement measuring 42.7 percent in inflows through remittance companies and a rise in other remittances of 0.7 percent for December 2020.

From April 2020 to December 2020, net remittance inflows totaling US$175.0 million rose by 31.9 percent (US$526.1 million) relative to the same period in 2019. The BOJ reported in November of 2020 that in spite of the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jamaicans who lived overseas sent more money to their friends and families on the home island.

Comparatively, the growth rate of remittance inflows in Jamaica for the calendar year of 2020 was 20.8 percent greater than the rate of Mexico, which amounted to 12.7 percent. The registered growth rate for Guatemala during the same period was 7.5 percent, while that of El Salvador was 4.8 percent.

The greatest source of remittance inflows to Jamaica in September 2020 was the United States, whose share rose to 67.4 percent, an increase from 64.8 percent the previous year. Other significant sources for remittance inflows in 2020 were Canada with 12.0 percent, the United Kingdom with 10.6 percent, and the Cayman Islands with 6.3 percent.

In June 2020, Leslie Campbell, Jamaica’s State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, praised the Jamaican Diaspora for providing a 30-percent increase in remittances and support for families in 2020.

Remittances in Jamaica refer to the inflow of current and capital transfers in cash and in-kind, including income transfers, also known as personal remittances, from migrant and short-term employees, and acquired rights in social benefits, or total remittances.

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Stephanie Koury