It has become a commonplace observation that remittances – financial transfers by migrants to their country of origin – between the developed and the developing world are larger than aid transfers. It is also often noted that the sums remitted through formal channels represent only a fraction of total remittances: a large though unknown amount of funds finds its way to families in migrants’ areas of origin through informal channels. This study offers a synthesis of what is known about informal remittances to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, and their influence on development in those countries. The study’s remit is limited to the developmental potential of informal remittance systems. It will not address the much wider issue, on which there already is a substantial literature, of the positive or negative developmental impact of migrant remittances, both formal and informal.
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