The power of freelancers and remittance earners: A tribute to the economic heroes

The key macroeconomic indicators of the South Asian, Southeast Asian region and emerging markets including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines etc. are accelerating upward fueled by the significant contributions of two distinct groups, remittance workers and freelancers. In addition to boosting the economy, the freelancer community is effectively presenting their skills to the world. On the other hand, the wage earners working abroad play a vital role in the economy by remitting money back home. It’s a great opportunity to acknowledge the significant contributions of freelancers and remittance earners to the global economy.  

Freelancers: the catalyst of growth

Freelancing nowadays is a trending type of self-employment that allows freedom and flexibility in choosing a job and work hours. Besides that, people get the chance to work from home. As a result, the young generation prefers working in this sector.  Additionally, there are huge numbers of jobs in the marketplace like Upwork, Fiverr, Behance, etc. These platforms allow people to choose projects according to their expertise. From software developers to creative writers, they have proven their skills in the international market. Therefore, the number of freelancers in the world is increasing rapidly. Approximately 1.57 billion people in the world are working as freelancers. The US has the largest freelancing market with 64 million freelancers contributing $1.27 trillion to their economy in 2023. Currently, the USA, UK, Brazil, Pakistan, Philippines, India, Russia, Bangladesh, Ukraine, and Serbia are the top freelancing countries in the world. The South Asian freelancing market also significantly influences the global economy. This huge money flow supports foreign exchange reserves, increases revenue, and expands developing industries including digital marketing, e-commerce, and information technology worldwide. 

Remittance earners: The backbone of families

While freelancers empower the digital world, the remittance workers sustain livelihoods and support their families and economic development worldwide. There are 169 million migrant workers worldwide who continuously contribute to the world economy by earning foreign currency. In addition, the remittance inflows have a substantial impact on the foreign exchange reserves, balance of payments stability, and alleviation of economic shortage. Also, with this income they provide vital support to fulfill basic needs like food, shelter, education, and health.  

Challenges of freelancers and remittance workers

When it comes to getting the payment and sending money back home, freelancers and remittance workers often face difficulties. There are lots of payment options available in the market with their pros and cons. Both freelancers and remittance workers are increasingly choosing money transaction platforms like Payoneer, Western Union, Wise, and conventional banking systems. There have always been areas of improvement within the formal banking channel that include delayed transactions, high charges, low exchange rates and many others. As a result, a substantial percentage of the fund flow is routed through the ancient Hundi or Hawala system bypassing the formal channel till today. To overcome these issues, improved payment infrastructure and legislative changes that support security and transparency in financial transactions are highly required. Through the process simplification, reduced transaction costs, and financial literacy promotion, people may safeguard their earnings and make informed decisions to improve their financial well-being and overall economic growth. 

To conclude, when the freelancers are the pathway of innovation, the remittance workers are the pillars of economic growth. The combined workforce of freelancers and remittance workers is the fuel of the global economy. Let’s work together, to build a world where every work is respected and appreciated. 

Author: Tamanna Islam

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