Kenyans living abroad have managed to send home substantial amounts of money in recent months, despite the covid19 related challenges. The overseas workers sent home $260.2 million in February 2021, 19% more than the $219 million sent in February 2020 according to data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).
In January, foreign remittances amounted to $278.3 million, up from $259.4 million sent in the same period in 2020. CBK attributes the rise in foreign remittances to the emergence of safe, affordable and convenient money transfer channels.
In the 12 months to February 2021, the cumulative inflows rose to $3.155 billion, an 11.4% increase from $2.831 billion in the 12 months to February 2020.
Foreign remittances not only support most low-income households in Kenya but also boost foreign exchange reserves which are crucial to the Kenyan economy. The largest source of diaspora remittances into Kenya is North America, while remittances from Europe and other parts of the world lag far behind. In January this year, 64% of the foreign inflows into Kenya came from North America, while Europe and other parts of the world contributed 36% of the total diaspora inflows.
The Central Bank of Kenya is currently conducting a Diaspora Remittances Online Survey with the aim to ” collect valuable information to improve the quality of remittance statistics and guide policy on harnessing remittances for economic development, and address challenges facing emitters”. The survey will run from 19th March to 17th May 2021.