Report on Constraints and Opportunities in Remittance Data Collection in the Pacific

11 Jul 2023

APIA, Samoa – The PACER Plus Implementation Unit (PPIU), in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is pleased to release the report titled "Constraints and Opportunities in Pacific Remittance Data Collection: Study on Remittances Data and Measurement Constraints in Pacific Labour Sending Countries". This comprehensive research report sheds light on the remittance landscape in three case study countries, namely Kiribati, Solomon Islands, and Tonga. It provides valuable recommendations for enhancing remittance data collection and analysis in the Pacific, aiming to inform policy decisions and support sustainable development in the region.

The report underscores the importance of remittances for Pacific labour sending countries. For many of these countries, the level of remittances received exceeds the amount of foreign direct investment (FDI), export receipts, portfolio flows from financial markets, and even foreign aid. In Tonga for example, remittances in 2020 accounted for 39% of its Gross Domestic Product, while export receipts accounted for only 19%, FDI only 9%, and official overseas aid was less than half the value of remittances.

Remittance flows have also been found to be more resilient during times of economic downturn including during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and have provided an important 'safety valve' to cushion the impact on household incomes and therefore having a direct impact on poverty alleviation.

Measuring the volume of remittance flows from labour mobility workers to their Pacific countries of origin is not without its challenges. Pacific labour sending countries have raised concerns on the quality and accuracy of remittances data. To address these concerns, the PPIU commissioned the study to identify the key constraints to remittances data collection and analysis and to determine measures for addressing these constraints.

According to the report, the key constraints to remittances data collection and analysis in the region include:

  1. Lack of reliable and comprehensive data on remittances in some countries, with insufficient disaggregation of data regarding the sender of remittances.
  2. Limited capacity of central banks to collect, analyse, and report on remittance data effectively.
  3. Dependence on money transfer operators (MTOs) for data collection resulting in inconsistent data reporting practices.
  4. Lack of coordination and collaboration among stakeholders involved in remittance data collection and analysis hampers efforts to obtain accurate and timely data.

Despite these challenges, the report identifies several opportunities to improve remittance data collection and analysis in Pacific countries. These opportunities include:

  1. Support from international agencies: International agencies offer technical assistance, funding for surveys, collaboration meetings, and research reports and recommendations.
  2. Technological advancements: Innovations such as mobile wallets present new avenues for data disaggregation in remittance analysis.
  3. Policy interest: Policymakers in Pacific countries exhibit a strong interest in utilising remittances as a tool for economic development and poverty reduction.

To address the constraints and capitalise on the opportunities, the report puts forth a number of recommendations which will frame the work that the PPIU will deliver on remittances in the region. To read the full report, please refer to or click here.