Send Money Pacific Blog
Pasifika Continue to Support Their Families in Difficult Times
COVID-19 related lockdowns and the associated reduction in international and national trade have affected every country. The Pacific Islands, whilst having largely avoided COVID-19 cases in country, are certainly facing the harsh financial and social realities of economies without tourism and reduced options to take part in labour mobility programmes.
Remittances are also a vital source of income for many countries, no less so than for the Pacific Islands, accounting for 40 percent of GDP in Tonga, 17 percent in Samoa and 5 percent in Fiji. Remittances are normally very resilient and stand up to many economic pressures, however, in the case of a global pandemic, as job prospects diminish globally, these are also forecast to take a big hit. World Bank data suggests that globally remittances will contract by 20 per cent and in the Asia Pacific region by 13 per cent this year, due to COVID-19.
When COVID-19 first hit in Australia and New Zealand, many people wanted to send money to their loved ones back home in the islands, but their usual way of sending money via a money transfer agent was not an option as the local branch location was closed. Money transfer companies were quick to adapt their service offerings, providing options for their customers to send without having to visit branch locations. Remitters were also willing to try sending in ways that they had not considered before, such as using online options. Whatever it took to get the money there. And data from the central banks backs this up.
According to the Central Bank of Samoa’s “Visitor Earnings & Remittances Report July 2020”: “Private remittances total inflows of private remittances increased by 2.6 percent (or $1.4 million) to $54.9 million over the year and was 5.3 percent (or $2.8 million) higher when compared to the previous month. Responsible for this increase were higher transfers from Australia (up by $5.9 million), New Zealand (up by $2.4 million)…”
Despite facing their own financial concerns, the Pacific communities in Australia and New Zealand have kept the money flowing to support their families in the islands. Aiga. Where life begins and love never ends.