3 February 2014

Africa: Kenya to Host Continental Remittances Institute

Nairobi — Kenya has been selected to host the African Institute of Remittances (AIR) that is scheduled to be fully operational by 2015.

Commissioner of Social Affairs of the African Union Commission (AUC) Mustapha Kaloko said the African Union Executive Council, has selected the Republic of Kenya to host the Institute.

"I am delighted that the Executive Council has decided that the Republic of Kenya will host the AIR. The establishment of AIR, the first of its kind in the world, is a cornerstone in harnessing Diaspora resources for social and economic development in Africa," said Kaloko.

The institute is set to improve the market for remittance flows to the African continent and leverage its impact on development in the continent.

Kaloko said the Council asked the AUC to conclude the Host Agreement with the Republic of Kenya so as to ensure the formal take-off of the Institute this year urging the World Bank and other development partners to support the Institute.

The decision to select Kenya was made during the 24th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council which met from 27 to 28 January 2014 at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

AIR project partners agreed to the need for sustained collaboration and coordination of efforts in support of the Institute to achieve the planned improvement in the market for remittances and to leverage their impact on development in the continent.

The partners are AUC, World Bank, European Commission, African Development Bank, and the International Organisation for Migration.

The African Union Commission resolved in 2010 to create AIR in the framework of the Africa-European Union partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment, to leverage the untapped development potential of remittance flows to the African continent.

The magnitude of remittances to and within Africa has grown remarkably in recent years, gaining the attention of the international development community due to their positive impact on the living standards of beneficiaries.

However, the precise volume of these remittances is unknown and presumed under-counted.

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