Western Union: Remittances Financing Global Economic Development

Here's a company whose business enables migrants to send money back home just about anywhere in the world—385,000 locations in 200 countries and territories (up from 120,000 locations in 100 countries just 5 years ago), while the company's philanthropic foundation helps migrants and their families to get an education, get jobs, and build small businesses.

In a conversation with Luella Chavez D'Angelo, President, Western Union Foundation, she told me that "we view migrants as heroes."  According to D'Angelo, "global migration is as old as history. Who is more heroic than the man or woman who leaves home to endure loneliness and alienation in order to find work in a foreign land to put food on the family's table back home and help their children have a better future." (Most of us have the good fortune to be where we are today because a relative did that for us back when.)

On a larger scale, according to "Leveraging Remittances for Development," by Dilip Ratha at the World Bank, "migrant remittances have become a major source of external development finance. They can play an effective role in reducing poverty." In 2007, remittances exceeded $300 billion (up from $193 billion in 2005). In fact, "they are larger than foreign direct investment and more than twice as large as official aid received by developing countries." Ratha's report continues further to explain that "remittances are associated with increased household investments in education, entrepreneurship, and health."

D'Angelo told me that the Western Union Foundation achieves its social agenda in collaboration with the Clinton Global Initiative, USAID, and Mercy Corps. Through these partnerships, "Western Union helps create stronger communities, improves access to education, and fosters small business development." As their ad campaign says, "Yes, to a better future."

View this video that Western Union did on global migration for a DC forum attended by The World Bank, USAID and Migration Policy Institute leaders.

 

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