Colombian President Ivan Duque said Friday that the exodus of Venezuelans fleeing a collapsing economy costs his country about 0.5% of its annual gross domestic product.
“The fiscal impact that the migration crisis has could be about 0.5% of GDP, Duque said after a meeting with the World Bank’s Vice President Jorge Familiar. “Obviously we want to look at how that’s reflected in health, in education, in infrastructure, in lots of public assets.
Familiar said that The World Bank will release more comprehensive information in the coming weeks about the financial impact of the mass migration on Colombia. But as it stands, the 0.5% would make up approximately $1.5 billion.
The Colombian government said in June that over one million Venezuelans entered the country over the course of 14 months. Other estimates say over 4,000 people flood over the Venezuela-Colombia border daily.
The migrants flee a collapsing economy and dwindling resources like food and medicine that correspond to the hyperinflation.
While some pass through Colombia to other countries, and others flee to Brazil, Colombia has absorbed the brunt of the crisis. Because of the overwhelming numbers, the country and aid organizations have not been able to support migrants who arrive across the border without visas, shelter or prospects for jobs in the formal economy.
Duque called upon world leaders to help address the crisis in a speech before the UN General Assembly this week.
“We need the world to understand that there must be a global response to the humanitarian and migratory crisis caused by the Venezuelan dictatorship,” Duque said.
The next day, UN chief Antonio Guterres announced that the UN would set up a fund to help Colombia and other neighboring countries handle the migration crisis.
World organizations are still working to gather information about the extent of the crisis.