Belgium sent €6.4 billion in remittances in 2020, making it one of the top sending countries in Europe. The O-REMIT project by the International Organization for Migration will use data from various sources to analyse transaction costs and aim for a threshold below 3%. This will provide insights on cost-efficient remittance options and help the diaspora in Belgium make meaningful investments in their home country.
Three streams will be implemented:
Stream 1: Understand the remittance flows and behaviour of diaspora in Belgium.
IOM will analyse remittance streams from Belgium and the top 20 recipient countries, including Belgium's partner nations. Results will be shared publicly to provide insights on remittance trends and progress towards the 3% cost threshold. IOM will also conduct survey research and focus groups with diaspora members from Belgium's partner countries to understand their remittance behaviour and share the results with policymakers for evidence-based policy-making.
Stream 2: Raise awareness on remit options.
A campaign with diaspora organizations will increase awareness of remittance options and factors that affect remittance behaviour. Workshops will be held for remitters and receivers from selected corridors to educate them on cost-effective remittance options.
Stream 3: support turning remittances into investments.
A strategy will be developed with Zidicircle and OVO to attract potential diaspora investors, and workshops will be offered to first-time investors. Diaspora investors will be connected with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in DRC, Morocco, and Senegal, and supported throughout their investment journey.
According to data of the National Bank of Belgium (NBB), the five biggest formal remittance corridors from Belgium in 2019 were Morocco, Turkey, Romania, The Philippines, and DR Congo. These five countries received a combined total of €459.796.965, or more than half of the total amount of remittances (€870.370.913) sent from Belgium in 2019 as recorded by the NBB3.
The Belgian government is the sponsor for the O-REMIT project, with as goal to create a more meaningful insight on the remittance flows and the different forms under which remittances leave Belgium.