The establishment of an African Institute for Remittances Project (“AIR Project”) is an initiative of the African Union Commission. In recent years, countries, bilateral and multilateral donors, and international and regional organizations have put emphasis on the growth, size/amounts, and leveraging of remittances for development in Africa. The establishment of an African Institute for Remittances (AIR) by the African Union Commission (AUC) would be the first of its kind in the world.
To facilitate the establishment of the AIR, a preparatory project was launched on 8th June 2010 with a grant from the European Commission (EC) for €1,676,271 (US $2.4 million equivalent) to the World Bank through a Bank-Executed Trust Fund (BETF) Grant Agreement signed in December 2009. The preparatory phase project is to be implemented by the World Bank with the collaboration of AUC, EC, IOM and the AfDB.
The core objectives of the preparatory project are to:
(i) Facilitate the process leading to the creation of the AIR; and;
(ii) Develop the capacity of the Member States of the African Union (AU), remittance senders and recipients, and other stakeholders to implement concrete strategies and operational instruments to use remittances as development tools for poverty reduction.
The implementation of the project has been on course. The Commission and partners (WB, AfDB, EC and IOM) have conducted studies on financial institutions and remittances flow to and within Africa, offered technical assistance (including training and capacity building for relevant organizations - Central Banks, Ministries, Financial and non-Financial Institutions) to a number of member states in order to improve their regulatory framework and market for remittances.
Also, within the framework of the project, a pilot database - an African Remittance Price Database (Send Money Africa) has been established to provide remittance information (in improving transparency) in the market. The data collection on remittance costs and delivery time details for Send Money Africa commenced on 30 June 2011 with a temporary domain: http://sendmoneyafrica.worldbank.org
The database started with about 50 selected corridors, which were considered significant in terms of volume, market development, and policy relevance.
- Readers can access the 19 page report, Report of the Commission on Preparatory Project for the Establishment of an African Institute for Remittances (AIR) and proposed Organizational Structure of Air, dated 7 March 2012, here. It will be discussed at the forthcoming meeting of AU Finance Ministers. The conference webpage can be accessed for further information, here.