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IDB fund to hold conference in Guatemala on impact of remittances in Central America

The Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) will hold a round table conference on Wednesday, September 3 in Guatemala City on the economic and social impact of remittances sent by immigrants to Central America.

Remittances have become a key source of capital for many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to MIF estimates, the region received around $32 billion last year, mostly from migrants living in industrialized nations. Of that total, some $5.5 billion went to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

The meeting, which will take place at the Westin Camino Real conference center, will bring together government officials, bankers, migrant associations’ leaders and specialists from multilateral agencies, think tanks and the private sector. Guatemalan Economy Minister Patricia Ramirez Ceberg, MIF Manager Donald F. Terry and the IDB’s Representative in Guatemala, Gerard Johnson, are due to open the event.

During the conference, pollster Sergio Bendixen of the Miami-based firm Bendixen & Associates and Roberto Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, D.C., will present a study based on surveys and focus groups conducted among people who receive remittances in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to analyze the impact of these capital flows.

A panel of microfinance experts will discuss the links between remittances and microenterprise and another panel will examine the impact of migrant associations on development in their home communities, particularly in rural areas.

The MIF, an autonomous fund administered by the IDB, provides grants, loans and investments to support private sector development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Among other activities, it carries out programs designed to cut remittance costs by fostering competition among service providers. It also supports the development of financial institutions that cater to low-income clients, such as credit unions and microfinance agencies.

The MIF conference on remittances will take place one day before the opening of the 6th Inter-American Forum on Microenterprise organized by the IDB and Guatemala’s Economy Ministry, which will be held on September 4 and 5 at the same venue.

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