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Diaspora cash transfers increase by over a fifth

Kenyans in foreign countries sent home $1.382 billion (Sh143.30 billion) in nine months through September. file photo | nmg
Kenyans in foreign countries sent home $1.382 billion (Sh143.30 billion) in nine months through September. file photo | nmg 

Diaspora remittances in September hit $176.098 million (Sh18.25 billion) after rising over one-fifth over the same month in 2016, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) said.

The amount received during the electioneering month was Sh3.41 billion or 22.98 per cent more than $143.188 million (Sh14.84 billion) in September.

This was the second month in a row the remittances touched a record high after hitting $166.412 million (Sh17.25 billion) in August, which had broken the previous record of $161.501 million (Sh16.74 billion) in May.

Cumulatively, Kenyans in foreign countries sent home $1.382 billion (Sh143.30 billion) in nine months through September, $105 million (Sh10.88 billion) more than they did a year earlier ($1.277 billion).

That figure consolidated diaspora remittances position as the country’s top foreign exchange earner ahead of tea exports and tourist receipts.
The CBK’s update did not break down details on sources.

North America, largely the US, accounted for 51.8 per cent or $86.3 million (Sh8.95 billion) of the remittances in August followed by Europe with 33.4 per cent share while the rest of the world held the remainder 14.7 per cent stake.

CBK governor Patrick Njoroge said in September inflows from the diaspora have played a major role in supporting the shilling, which has been relatively stable, depreciating a marginal 1.14 per cent against the US dollar this year.

“The remittances have been resilient. They have just been climbing, climbing, climbing. There’s a balanced (foreign exchange) market on the whole,” Dr Njoroge said on September 13.

The CBK tracks diaspora remittances through banks and other formal channels.

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