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Focus: Capital to the world's poorest countries

DESPITE the effects of the global financial crisis, remittances to the world's 48 least developed countries (LDCs) have continued rising, reaching $27 billion in 2011, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The rise partly reflects the greater number of emigrants from LDCs (perhaps now as many as 27m), but also the fact that better data is being reported by more countries. With foreign direct investment having declined since the recession, remittances are increasingly playing an important role supporting growth and reducing poverty. They account for 4.4% of the LDCs' GDP, are equivalent to 15% of their exports, and are their second-largest source of foreign financing. Official development assistance continues to be the main source of such financing, though, bringing in $42 billion in 2010.