The Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) will hold a round table conference on Monday, May 12 in Quito, Ecuador on the economic and social impact of remittances sent by immigrants to countries in the Andean Region.
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 the Andean nations: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
The Quito conference, which will take place at the Marriott Hotel, will bring together government officials, bankers, and specialists from multilateral agencies, think tanks and the private sector. Ecuador Foreign Relations Minister Nina Pacari Vega Conejo is scheduled to open the event, together with the IDB Representative in Ecuador, Dora Currea, and MIF Manager Donald F. Terry.
During the conference, pollster Sergio Bendixen of the Miami-based firm Bendixen & Associates and Roberto Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center in Washington, DC, will present the results of a survey conducted among Ecuadorians who receive remittances to study how they use the money sent home by their relatives living abroad.
Andres Solimano, regional adviser to the U.N. Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean, will discuss the outlook for the Andean Region’s remittances market. Joaquin Aranda, director for economic studies at Caja Murcia, a leading Spanish credit union, will present a study on remittances from Spain to Latin America. Finally, Ecuadorian, Spanish and U.S. bankers will analyze the influence of these capital flows on the local financial system.
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 through competition between service providers. It also supports financial institutions that cater to low-income clients, such as credit unions and microfinance institutions.
The MIF has brokered agreements between Ecuadorian banks and Spanish credit unions in order to facilitate money transfers and reduce their cost. The competition generated by these links lead to a sharp drop in the prices of money transfer services from Spain to Ecuador.