the mif blog

Stories of inspiring entrepreneurs and organizations, discussion and commentary of new trends in private sector development, and the latest events and publications.

Remittance recipients in the Northern Triangle: New insights from the MIF

By Rebecca Rouse

Analysts often refer to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – together constituting the so-called Northern Triangle - as particularly illustrative examples of the importance of remittances for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). They rightly do so. For one, the three countries receive relatively large amounts of these international financial flows. In 2015 remittances to the Northern Triangle exceeded $14 billion, constituting approximately a fifth of the total migrant transfers received by all LAC countries and corresponding to 17%, 10% and 18% of the gross domestic products of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, respectively.

Mexico Financial Diaries shatters three misconceptions you may have had about migrant remittances

By Rebecca Rouse

By: Caitlin Sanford and Rebecca Rouse 

Mexican families incorporated more than $24.8 billion in international remittances into their household financial portfolios last year. But how much do we know about the way that this money is spent, saved, and invested over time? The Remittances and Savings Program of the Multilateral Investment Fund partnered with Bankable Frontier Associates (BFA) to examine the cash flows of 16 households in the Mexico Financial Diaries that received international remittances. The findings of this study, available for download here, help dispel three common misconceptions that many may have about migrant remittances:

$180 million on the line: Bank de-risking reaches the Caribbean

By Rebecca Rouse

There has been much conversation in recent months about the effective shut down of remittance services to Somalia from key sending markets such as the United Kingdom, United States and Australia. Somalia receives more than $1.3 billion in remittances a year, representing at least a quarter its GDP and far outweighing international aid. However, fears surrounding money laundering and terrorism financing have led banks to determine that holding remittance service provider accounts is simply too much of a risk, leading bank partners to drop their accounts until there were simply none left. Humanitarian workers fear that these moves will destroy the vital lifelines that keep many Somali families afloat. If remittances hold equal importance in some Latin American economies, should stakeholders fear that this trend could spread to our region?

Businesses fueled by remittances: What we’re learning about diaspora entrepreneurs

By Rebecca Rouse

One fateful trip to the salon was all it took to turn a Philadelphia-area strategy consultant into a diaspora entrepreneur. Haitian-born Yve-Car Momperousse had the idea to start her business, Kreyol Essence, after being unable to find Haitian Black Castor Oil—which she remembered from her childhood as a miracle cure for dry and damaged hair—on the market in the United States. Today, Kreyol Essence’s line of luxury beauty products from Haiti has created much-needed jobs and brings natural, Haitian-sourced ingredients to buyers all over the United States. Momperousse shared her company’s story at last week’s Business Future of the Americas conference in Port-au-Prince. 

Being the master of your own time in Paraguay

By Rebecca Rouse

When was the last time your bank let you know how much they valued your time? Better yet, when was the last time they proved it to you? For most of us, waiting in line is just a part of life. Applying for a loan? Get in line. Picking up a remittance? The line starts here. Right? Not necessarily. Last week in the city of Luque, Paraguay, I had the chance to tour a new model of bank branch that is trying to reinvent the customer experience.