Remittances this year will reach $16 billion
Emigrants from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, based mainly in the United States, are expected this year to send some $16 billion to their families back home, a 7 percent increase compared to 2015, according to AirPak, a unit of Western Union, a leader in transmitting remittances.
Income generated by Central American workers abroad now exceeds that of any of the products, which historically have been the region’s most important exports, including coffee, sugar or bananas.
Remittances amount to no less than 17 percent of the GDP of each of Honduras and El Salvador, and 12 percent in the case of Guatemala.
Mexican remittances last year were $23 billion, a modest amount given Mexico’s population, which is triple that of all of Central America, and only about 2% of a GDP of $1.1 trillion.
On the other hand, revenue from remittances for the first time exceeded the value of oil exports.
Remittances meanwhile have emerged as an issue in this year’s presidential election in the United States, as the Republican candidate Donald Trump would seek to prohibit payments from Mexican workers in the United States to their families, unless Mexico agrees to invest in measures – including a border wall – intended to stem the flow of illegal migration.