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IDB's Multilateral Investment Fund to hold conference on impact of remittances in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) will hold a conference on Tuesday, February 26 on the impact of remittances in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The meeting, which will be held at the IDB’s headquarters in Washington. D.C., will bring together leaders of the public and private sectors, the financial services industry and civil society groups from the region as well as experts on remittances and development.

At the conference, the MIF will present the results of the first survey on remittances carried out among Latin Americans living in the United States and a comparative analysis of the costs of wiring money to the Latin American and Caribbean countries that receive most of these capital flows.

The Washington conference was preceded by two roundtables held this month in El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.

Over the past decade remittances have become a key source of capital for several countries in the region. The MIF, an autonomous fund managed by the IDB, estimates that these flows reached $23 billion in 2001, originating mostly in the United States, Western Europe and Japan.

By volume, remittances already exceed foreign aid to Latin America and the Caribbean. These flows play a crucial social and economic role because the money usually goes to families in low-income communities. Given current demographic and migration trends, many experts believe that the flow of remittances to will continue to grow during this decade.

The MIF, which promotes private sector development in Latin America and the Caribbean, supports programs to reduce the cost of remittances by stimulating competition and enabling their transmission through financial institutions that work with low-income clients, such as credit unions and microfinance institutions.

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