Remittance flows to the developing world are expected to total $406 billion this year, says the World Bank, but the promise of mobile remittances has yet to be fulfilled.
The growth in remittance flows exceeds earlier estimates, says the World Bank, rising by 6.5% over the previous year.
Further growth is expected in the coming year, with remittances to developing countries projected to rise by 7.9% in 2013, 10.1% in 2014 and 10.7% in 2015 to reach $534 billion in 2015.
The World Bank brief also notes that the promise of mobile remittances has yet to be fulfilled, despite the skyrocketing use of mobile telephones throughout the developing world.
Mobile remittances fall in the regulatory void between financial and telecom regulations, says the World Bank, with many central banks prohibiting non-bank entities to conduct financial services.
"Central banks and telecommunication authorities, thus, need to come together to craft rules relating to mobile remittances," states the report.
The top recipients of officially recorded remittances for 2012 are India ($70 billion), China ($66 billion), the Philippines and Mexico ($24 billion each), and Nigeria ($21 billion). Other large recipients include Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Lebanon.
Dilip Ratha, manager of the World Bank's migration and remittances unit, comments: "The global community has made progress in three out of four areas of the global remittances agenda - data, remittance costs, and leveraging remittances for capital market access for countries. Progress, however, has been slow in the area of linking remittances to financial access for the poor. There is great potential for developing remittance-linked micro-saving and micro-insurance schemes and for small and medium enterprise (SME) financing."