Migrants send home 51 percent more money than a decade ago lifting millions out of poverty, including Gambians that are keeping the economy afloat, says a new report.
Gambian migrants contributed 22 percent of GDP in 2016, according to the IFAD report and place the country second in Africa that relies on remittance, just below Liberia (31 percent) for its GDP.
In 2016, Gambians migrants remitted $181 million, says the report. One of the lowest volume in the continent.
However, compared to 2007 volumes, Gambia is one of the countries that registered a high growth rate of 225.3% in 2016.
Africa has 33 million migrants, with about one half remaining on the continent. The pace of migration growth is similar to population growth, a trend that differs from other regions.
Over the past decade, remittances to and within Africa have grown by 36 percent, close to the migration growth pace (29 percent).
Out of the US$60.5 billion received in 2016, close to 80 percent of remittances went to five countries: Nigeria (US$19 billion), Egypt (US$16.6 billion), Morocco (US$7 billion), Algeria and Ghana (US$2 billion each).
For 19 receiving countries, remittances are critical, as they rely on these flows for 3 percent or more of their GDP.
For six countries, remittances make up more than 10 percent of their GDP: Liberia (31 percent), The Gambia (22 percent), Comoros (20 percent), Lesotho (18 percent) and Senegal (14 percent).
For The Gambia and Senegal, the figures could be possibly higher with the now black market money transfer services that are springing up within its Diaspora community.