The African Union (AU) Executive Council has accepted Kenya’s offer to host the African Institute for Remittances (AIR), which is due to take off this year and become fully operational in 2015, the AU Commission (AUC) said here Monday.
Following the acceptance of the offer, the Council – at its recent meeting here – requested the AUC to conclude the Host Agreement with Kenya and requested the World Bank and other development partners to support 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” an AUC statement quoted Dr. Mustapha S. Kaloko, Commissioner of Social Affairs of the AUC, as saying.
AIR project partners include the AUC, World Bank, European Commission (EC), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
According to the Commission, the decision to create AIR was taken by the AUC within the framework of the Africa-EU partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment, for the purpose of leveraging the untapped development potential of remittance flows to the African continent.
The magnitude of remittances to 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 the remittances is unknown and presumed under-estimated, their transfer cost remains unacceptably high by international standards and their full potential for economic and social development is largely unexploited.