Statistics, Development and Human Rights
and at the present time remittances account for 10% of GDP. [IMF Balance of Payments Yearbook, 1998]. However, since this does not include the amounts transferred by private and informal (and perhaps also illegal) means, it may be assumed that these figures represent only a small fraction of that actually being transferred.
Remittances could be expected to contribute to improved levels of economic and social well-being through two routes: either as direct support for higher consumption levels; and/or because of the improved incomes and earnings that have been generated from the investment of these funds in productive activities.
Regression analysis shows that there is indeed a significant relationship between remittance flows and changing consumption levels. This is graphically shown in Figure 2.
In the next section the possible impacts of increased resources that may be coming from remittances on three areas deemed critical for social and economic development – viz health, education and productive expansion will be examined.
6. Improved Consumption Levels and Health.
At first glance health status would appear to have improved. The SLC shows that the percentages reporting an illness during the reference period fell from 17% in 1989 to 9% in 1998; all consumption quintiles show significant declines in reported illnesses. However, data from the same surveys suggest that more often than not, the poor enjoy a better health status than the rich. These data are presented in Table 3.
Table 3 – percentage reporting illness in 4 week reference period -by quintile status – 1990-98
Montreux, 4. – 8. 9. 2000