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Three Reasons the Spring Meetings Remained Glum—Despite Better Global Economic News

Each year, as ministers gather from all corners of the world for the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, Washington DC resounds with a cacophony of differing perspectives on future prospects, like a giant, multinational orchestra tuning up. Yet this time, in both public and private gatherings, with both developed and developing country dignitaries, as well as leading technocrats from the international financial institutions, one refrain kept recurring, defining the mood of the whole symphony. I would summarize it as 'The numbers are looking better, so why don't I feel good about them?'

New Study of Somali Remittance Flows Does Not Actually Tell Us Much about Somali Remittance Flows

The FAO’s Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) released an assessment of external remittances to Somalia, based on a survey of both urban and internally-displaced families. The headline result from the report was that apparently remittances were on the decline, but the FSNAU survey doesn’t actually tell us much about how remittance flows to Somalia have changed in the past six months.

If the Cost of Sending Remittances Goes Up and No One Is Around to Measure It, Did It Really Happen?

The World Bank does maintain an impressively large database of remittance prices around the world, called Remittance Prices Worldwide, covering over 200 remittance corridors. It is a massive undertaking which involves surveying hundreds of remittance companies across 32 different countries roughly every quarter, but it turns out that the data only cover approximately half of the world’s remittances, even though the number of corridors covered has been slowly expanding every year. For Somalia specifically, while the database covers remittances from the United Kingdom, it only began surveying US firms this year, after the closure of bank accounts.