Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 2nd 2013 Contents BG24 REGIONAL
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MAY 2013 • WEEK ONE
Remittances to Latin America and the
Caribbean (LAC) showed a slight increase
in 2012 with respect to the previous year,
according to the latest report on remittances
by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF),
a member of the Inter-American Develop-
ment Bank Group.
The report, Remittances to Latin America
and the Caribbean in 2012: Differing Behav-
iour among Sub-regions, said the region
received a total of US$61.3 billion in remit-
tances last year. This amount represents a
year-on-year increase of US$300 million,
a 0.6 per cent increase from 2011. After a
historic high of nearly US$65 billion in 2008,
and a 15 per cent drop due to the financial
crisis in 2009, money transfers to the region
Remittances inflow trends varied among
countries in Latin America and the
Caribbean. While remittances to South
American countries and Mexico decreased
by 1.1 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively,
the countries in the Caribbean displayed
modest growth and Central American
nations experienced a significant increase
of 6.5 per cent in the total remittances
received. This increase helped offset decreas-
es in bigger countries, allowing for the region
as a whole to end the year with slight growth.
"The latest data show that migrants con-
tinue to provide critical financial support
to millions of households across the region,"
said MIF general manager Nancy Lee.
"The development impact of remittances
can be much greater if families have the
option to save some of these flows rather
than convert them all into cash upon receipt.
The new MIF remittance and savings pro-
gramme will help identify innovative and
commercially viable business models that
work for both financial institutions and
The economic uncertainty and sluggish
labor market in Europe continue to affect
the amount of money migrants in Spain are
able to send back home, while the improve-
ments in the labor market in the United
States largely explain increases in remittances
to certain countries, particularly in Central
The value of the money transferred home
in 2012 varied from country to country,
depending on exchange rates and inflation
levels in each country.
In Brazil, for instance, the US$1.9 billion
sent in 2012 represents a one per cent
increase in nominal terms with respect to
2011, but when expressed in local currency
terms and adjusted for inflation, the amount
represents a 12 per cent yearly increase. In
other countries, the dollars sent home
decreased in value once received, such as
in Colombia, where remittance values
expressed in local currency terms showed
an eight per cent drop.
Mexico remains the largest remittance
recipient with US$22.4 billion, followed by
Guatemala, with US$4.8 billion, and Colom-
bia receiving US$4 billion, while El Salvador
and the Dominican Republic received US$3.9
and US$3.2 billion, respectively.
Remittance flows continue to represent
an important source of foreign inflows in
many of the countries in the region, and
constitute more than ten per cent of the
gross domestic product in several countries,
including Haiti, Guyana, Honduras, El Sal-
vador, Nicaragua, Jamaica and Guatemala.
These flows also represent an important
source of income for the millions of families
in the region that receive the transfers to
cover basic needs and invest in education,
health, housing, and small businesses.
The World Bank says a ground-breaking initiative
has created thousands of jobs for young Jamaicans
in the virtual global economy.
On April 24, the Washington-based financial insti-
tution announced that Digital Jam 2.0 - a digital job
and market fair, has created employment for over
4,000 young people on online platforms. It has also
established funds to support start-ups in the app
economy and the commercialisation of apps.
In addition, the World Bank said Digital Jam 2.0
has created several internships with leading Caribbean
telecom companies, ensured offers of scholarships
for winners to a Master s programme at Howard Uni-
versity in Washington, and created mentorship pro-
grams from national and international companies
operating in the information technology sphere.
The World Bank noted that Jamaica has about
800,000 young people between the ages of 12 and
35, about 34 per cent of the population.
In the coming years, it said job creation will not
come from traditional sectors, such as agriculture,
tourism and manufacturing, due to competitiveness
disadvantages vis-à-vis other countries due to issues
of scale, the country s insular nature, the high cost
of energy and high levels of crime and violence,
among other issues.
The bank said previous approaches to solving the
unemployment problem have concentrated on skills
development, but vocational education training pro-
grammes have reported limited success.
The bank noted that due to Jamaica s fragile econ-
omy, the country is forced to look at solutions outside
of the box to handle the pressing problem of youth
"Digital Jam 2.0 promoted solutions to high youth
unemployment in Jamaica with new opportunities
in the global virtual economy, microwork and e-
lancing, and the booming "app economy."
Digital Jam 2.0 was launched in June 2012 and saw
the participation of 2,000 young Jamaicans in a series
of competitions enabling young Jamaicas to showcase
the capacity, talent and commitment necessary to
be "game changers" for the economy and drivers of
a knowledge-based society. (Caribbean360)
The lower house of Mexico s congress voted on April 23 to
loosen longstanding restrictions on foreigners buying property
along the coast and the nation s borders, a proposal that drew
stiff criticism from some quarters.
The measure, which passed 356-119 in the Chamber of
Deputies, still needs approval from the Senate and a majority
of the country s 32 state legislatures to become law.
For decades, foreigners have had to use real-estate trusts
or Mexican front companies to buy beachfront properties,
because Article 27 of the constitution prohibits non-Mexicans
from directly owning land within 31 miles (50 kilometres) of
the coast and 62 miles (100 kilometres) of the nation s bor-
The trusts and front companies have provided a lucrative
income for banks, lawyers and notaries who are required to
operate them, and the extensive paperwork has discouraged
many foreigners from buying.
The change, sponsored by Congressman Manlio Fabio Bel-
trones of the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party,
would allow foreigners to directly buy ocean-front property
for residential use, but not for commercial projects.
Such proposals have been made before, but not by figures
as influential as Beltrones, the PRI s congressional leader.
The Union of Indians and the Farmers Force, a farmworkers
group, criticised the proposal Tuesday, saying it would "give
free rein to foreigners to legally buy up the best land, and
encourage robbery and financial and real estate speculation."
Those are strong sentiments in a country frequently invaded
by foreign powers in the 19th and early 20th century. Mexico
set up the restrictions to ensure national security and avoid
the creation of foreign enclaves like the one that grew up in
a former Mexican province known as Texas, where the foreigners
eventually rebelled and split from Mexico. (AP)
Mexico moves to ease restrictions on foreigners buying coastal property
Remittances flow to Latam
remain stable at US$61b
Digital Jam 2.0
online jobs for
You'll save more if all your
money is in one account
8.6%: People who earned money in
an experiment were up to 8.6
per cent less likely to save their
cash (as opposed to spending it on such items as T-
shirts and photo albums) if they stored it in three ac-
counts rather than one, reports a team led by
Himanshu Mishra of the University of Utah. With
funds spread across multiple accounts, people find it
harder to see how much money they really have, and
it's easier for them to invent "creative justifications"
for fun purchases, the researchers suggest.
(Source: Organisational Behaviour and
Human Decision Processes.)
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