Remittance behaviour of West Africans

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Remittance Behavior of West Africans (Western Europe)

Our research team determined that West Africans employed in Western Europe remit roughly $6.758 billion home annually. Additionally, roughly 849,000 West Africans live in Western Europe.

NUMBER OF WEST AFRICANS EMPLOYED IN WESTERN EUROPE

First, we familiarized ourselves with the countries located in West Africa and Western Europe. According to World Atlas, Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, and United Kingdom are countries of Western Europe, while Britannica presents West African countries to include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. We then combed through media sites and research journals such as The Guardian, The Gallup, The Brookings and more for preexisting data regarding the number of West Africans employed in Western Europe who remit money home. We soon recognized through the strategy that the information will most likely not appear precompiled since it lacks attention in the media. For example, we found irrelevant data points like the rise in desire for West Africans to migrate to Western Europe, immigrants’ unemployment rates and more that were not useful in directly answering the question.
Next, to determine the number of West Africans living and earning in Western Europe, we searched through government databases, specifically for the countries in these regions. For example, in attempting to find the number of Nigerians/ any other West African nation employed in the UK, we examined the Office for National Statistics UK or the STATBEL, the Belgian statistical office, for the number Nigerians or any other West African country employed in Belgium. This was a manual action to identify as many West Africans migrants as possible earning in the territory of Western Europe. Unfortunately, although these sources disclose, for some of the African countries, the number of those living in the European nations, they fail to reveal those earning. For example, approximately 102,000 Nigerians live in the United Kingdom, according to the Office for National Statistics UK; however, this database does not report the number of Nigerians earning in the country.
Finally, we combed through statistical databases engaged in maintaining immigration information, such as the Migration Policy, Trading Economics, OECD, International Organization for Migration (IOM), and more for details or metrics (i.e. the percentage of West Africans working in Western Europe) to extrapolate the number of West Africans living and earning in Western Europe. The OECD's most recent report, the "Atlas on Regional Integration in West Africa," records West African migration to developed countries, including the UK, France, and Belgium - countries of Western Europe. For example, there are about 288,000, 176,000, and 14,000 West Africans living in France, the UK, and Belgium respectively. According to the European Refugee Fund, there are nearly 35,000 West Africans in Ireland. However, these databases do not address the element of their employment or provide the percentage of those working that can be used to triangulate the number of West Africans earning in these countries.

ANNUAL REMITTANCE BY WEST AFRICANS EMPLOYED IN WESTERN EUROPE

To determine the total annual size of remittance by West Africans working in Western Europe, we utilized data compiled by the Pew Research Center, reflecting the most recent December 2018 update. The research organization provides an interactive map that displays remittance flows by country. Therefore, if we wanted to locate the total remittance sent home by Nigerians employed in Belgium annually, we will check the 'outgoing' button in the bottom of the map and select 'Belgium' for the outgoing country. To articulately present the information and determine the total size of remittance for these countries, we created a spreadsheet.
Approximately $177 million, $1.333 billion, $492 million, $15 million, $6 million, $267 million, and $4.468 billion was sent home by West Africans living and earning in Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands and United Kingdom respectively. Therefore, a total of $6.758 billion was sent home by West Africans employed in Western Europe.

West Africans currently living in North America

To provide the number of West Africans living in North America, we used the interactive map provided by the Migration Policy Institute, which shows where West Africa migrants have settled worldwide. To use the map, one selects a country from the dropdown menu to learn where emigrants from it settle, "bubbles will appear over top countries of destination, sized according to the estimated emigrant population in each country." We prepared a spreadsheet, the "Number of West Africans currently living in North America" to accurately present our data. According to the findings, most emigrants from West Africa live in the United States (748,000) and Canada (101,000). Today, about 849,000 West Africans live in North America.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Remittance Behavior of West Africans (North America)

Remittances from North America to West Africa reached a total of $7.93 billion in 2017. The majority of these remittances, 92.91% or $7.36 billion, were from the US. Remittances from Canada amounted to $559 million while those from Mexico only had a total of $3 million or a meager 0.04%. These remittances were sent out by approximately 597,664 employed West Africans in North America.


RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

To find the number of West Africans employed in the North American region who remit money home and determine the total annual size of such remittance, we started our research by looking into government databases on remittances. From this research strategy, we were able to find the inflows and outflows of remittances of each country around the world. We created a spreadsheet of the remittances from the US, Canada, and Mexico (North America) to all the countries in West Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde/Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire/Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo). Next, we added all the figures to determine the total amount of remittances from North America to West Africa.

Next, we looked into published reports by intergovernmental agencies and market leaders to find the number of West Africans living and earning in North America who send money back home. We found several reports about remittances by African immigrants, such as UNICEF's "Sending Money Home to Africa," World Bank's "Migration and Remittances Recent Developments and Outlook," and Cenfri's "Where Are the Flows? Exploring Barriers to Remittances in Sub-Saharan African Series." However, all the published reports we found talked about trends in global remittances, migration flows, challenges and opportunities of receiving remittances in Africa, and the extremely high remittance fees. We also found the same information when we did a press search on the remittances in leading news publications, such as Forbes and CNBC. The reports and the news articles didn't contain information that we were looking for, which was the number of employed West Africans in North America who send money back home.

We also looked into press releases and reports of the leading banks and money transfer companies in West Africa in the hopes of finding the statistics on the number of West Africans sending money back home. However, we encountered another dead end as most information we found were general information about remittances.

Lastly, we changed our research strategy and looked for data points we could use to triangulate the lacking information. Through this strategy, we were able to find the number of people from each of the West African countries in the US. However, these statistics were from 2015 and we couldn't find a more recent version. We decided to use the information as Pew Research used the same information on a 2017 report on African immigration. Next, we looked for the number of immigrants from each West African country to Canada. We entered the figures we found on the spreadsheet attached. We did not include the number of immigrants from Mexico as they only contributed 0.04% of the total remittances.

Since we already have information on the total number of immigrants from West African countries in the US and Canada, we looked for the percentage of people who send money back home, but even after exhaustive research, we could not find this information. However, we found that 75% of Sub-Saharan immigrants (people aged 16 years old and above) were in the civilian labor force in 2015. Again, we couldn't find a more recent version of this data. Since West Africa is part of Sub-Sahara, we decided to use this data point.
From the two data points we found, we have to make assumptions that all employed West African immigrants in the US and Canada send money back home.
  • Number of West African living and earning in North America X percentage of employed immigrants = number of West African immigrants in North America that sends money back home
  • 796,885 X 75% = 597,663.75 or 597,664 employed West Africans in North America who send money back home
Given that the above assumption is true, there are approximately 597,664 employed West Africans in North America who send money back home.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

West African Remittance Behavior

We were unable to find the number of people from the West Africa region that send money back home. However, we found that the annual amount of dollars sent to the West African Region by people who are originally from West Africa send back home, $3.7 billion. Our detailed findings have been documented below.

METHODOLOGY

We were unable to find information on the amount of West Africans who send money back home. Therefore, we implemented three strategies in search of the information.

Firstly, we used news articles as a source to find the number of West Africans who send money back home. These news articles include 3news, Pulse Nigeria and Coin Greek. The article from 3news spoke about an award that was given to Ecobank for having the best remittance product and service for the year. IN the case of Pulse Nigeria, the article outlined that how many millions in remittance came from sub-Saharan migrants living in the US and Europe in 2017. Coin Greek’s article shared that in order for the region of Africa to attract foreign investment they must regulate cryptocurrencies.

Secondly, we searched for information from international experts. These include the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. The article from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees provided information on remittances for several African countries but did not highlight West Africa. The word bank provided the remittances for several regions of the world. The only African region highlighted was Sub-Saharan Africa. The International Monetary Fund provided information on several things, including the remittance inflow in Sub-Saharan Africa from 2010-2015.

Thirdly, data were sourced from government sources. These sources include West Africa Region and the Guinea-Bissau Republic. West Africa Regional provided us with data such as an Ebola Outbreak Factsheet. On Guinea-Bissau Republic’s website, we were unable to retrieve any data in relation to remittances.

TRIANGULATION
In our search, we found information on the amounts of money sent to each country in West Africa. To arrive at the total, we performed simple addition of the remittances for each country. Our calculations were as follows:


These findings have been outlined below.

LIST OF COUNTRIES FROM WEST AFRICAN REGION

The annual amount of dollars sent to the West African region is outlined here, it includes:
These remittances make up the amount sent to the region, that is $3.7 billion.

CONCLUSION


In conclusion, we were unable to find the number of people from the West Africa region that send money back home. However, we the annual amount of dollars sent back home is $3.7 billion.
Sources
Sources