Dubai: Nearly half of the world’s Dh2.1 trillion in remittances went to only ten countries, mostly developing nations in Asia last year, according to the World Bank.

The lifeline of many dependent families of expatriates in the UAE, remittances from around the world totaled $583 billion in 2014, which is more than double the Official Development Assistance (ODA), or government financial aid for developing markets.

Almost half of the amount, or a little over Dh1 trillion ($281 billion), went mostly to the pockets of beneficiaries in Asia.

Topping the list of remittance recipients is India, who received the biggest chunk at $70 billion, followed by China ($64 billion), Philippines ($28 billion), Mexico ($25 billion), Nigeria ($21 billion), Egypt ($20 billion), Pakistan (17 billion), Bangladesh ($15 billion), Vietnam ($12 billion) and Lebanon ($9 billion).

“India, China, Philippines and Mexico retained their position as the top recipients of migrant remittances in 2014,” the World Bank said in its latest report.

Kaushik Basu, World Bank chief economist and senior vice president, said that the mega flows, which are primarily used to provide for the daily needs of dependent families, can be leveraged to finance development and infrastructure projects instead.

"Israel and India have shown how macro  liquidity crises can be managed by tapping into the wealth of diaspora communities. Mexican migrants have boosted the construction sector. Tajikistan manages to nearly double its consumption by using remittance money," he said.

The World Bank also reported that as of last year, the fall in oil prices did not affect the volume of remittances from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, especially to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and several countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The outlook, however, is not certain. “The substantial financial resources and long-term infrastructure development plans of the GCC countries imply that they will continue to demand migrant workers.”