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Foreign currency remittances from Zimbabweans living outside of the country - excluding hand-to-hand transfers - were expected to double in 2009 from an estimated US$361 million in 2008, according to projections by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, a UN agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty.
Other estimates have put all remittances from expatriates in Britain to Zimbabwe at about US$1 billion annually.
"If this is true, it puts a new dimension on this issue - it shows that the actual Zimbabwe-origin population in the UK is much bigger than estimated, and that they are sending much more money home than we ever imagined," Eddie Cross, a prominent member of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told IRIN.
"This would explain where all the foreign currency that keeps this country going, is coming from; it explains why many more people are not actually dying from the present crisis in terms of hunger, malnutrition and neglect."