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The World Bank says remittances sent home by migrants from low- and middle-income countries are projected to drop nearly 20 percent to $445 billion this year due to the global economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a report released on April 22, the Washington-based lender said job losses, as well as lost hours and wages were expected to leave migrants in wealthier nations unable to send as much money home to poorer countries.

Remittance flows to states in Europe and Central Asia are expected to drop 27.5 percent, representing a loss of crucial financing for many vulnerable households, it said.

The decrease is expected to be 22.1 percent in South Asia and 19.6 percent in the Middle East and North Africa.

The report also cautioned that migrants are being left out of programs that governments have implemented to ease the economic and health effects of the coronavirus and are unable to return to their countries due to transportation shutdowns.

The World Bank said remittances reached a record $554 billion last year, becoming a larger source of funds for poorer nations than foreign direct investment.

Ukraine in 2019 remained the largest recipient of remittances in the Europe and Central Asia region, receiving a record high of nearly $16 billion, while Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan benefited from a rebound of economic activity in Russia.

With reporting by AFP and AP