Copyright © 2007 International Development Options
All Rights Reserved
Volume Four Winter 2006-Spring 2007 Numbers 3-4.
Theme: Global Labor Migration and Emerging Trends in Development Finance: An Assessment of the
Economic and Social Impact of Migrant (Worker) Remittances in Central America and the Caribbean
REMITTANCES TO HAITI: LEVERAGING MIGRANT TRANSFERS FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Lynda A. Dykstra
B.P. 2210, Bamako, Mali
Published Online: February 10, 2017
Remittances have become an increasingly critical source of foreign exchange for countries facing decreasing foreign aid, persistent balance of payments problems, and difficulties borrowing from the global capital markets. Remittances flows are quietly transforming Latin America and Caribbean countries. However, while the dramatic increase in the flow of international remittances has played an important role in alleviating transient poverty, a debate has arisen around the question of whether remittances can in fact contribute to long-term development in migrant-sending countries. This article examines both the benefits and limitations of remittance flows in order to explore the possibilities of leveraging remittances to promote poverty-reducing development. Focusing on the case of Haiti, the article provides a perspective on the causes and scale of migration and remittances flows to the country in recent decades. It is argued that while remittances have been important in improving standards of living in Haiti, their development potential has not been realized. Various channels for transmitting the impact of remittances on development are therefore investigated. The article concludes by outlining key points emerging from the Haitian experience.