Currencies

Remittances hit record high of Sh30.5 billion for January

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Central Bank of Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that diaspora remittances in January grew 7.3 percent from Sh28.4 billion ($259.4 million) that was sent home in January 2020.
  • The remittances rose in January despite the continued struggles of the US economy to create jobs, with the country emerging as one of the worst hit by the Covid pandemic.
  • The US is the biggest source of remittances to Kenya, with others including UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Germany also making key contributions.

Kenyans living abroad sent home Sh30.5 billion ($278.4) last month, a record high for January as they shrugged off the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in source countries.

Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that diaspora remittances in January grew 7.3 percent from Sh28.4 billion ($259.4 million) that was sent home in January 2020.

The remittances rose in January despite the continued struggles of the US economy to create jobs, with the country emerging as one of the worst hit by the Covid pandemic.

The US is the biggest source of remittances to Kenya, with others including UK, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Germany also making key contributions.

"Remittance inflows increased by 7.3 percent in January 2021...the cumulative inflows in the 12 months to January totalled $3.113 billion (Sh341.2 billion) compared to $2.811 billion (Sh308.1 billion) in the 12 months to January 2020, an increase of 10.8 percent,” said CBK in its latest weekly bulletin.

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge said last month that the continued growth of remittances has been driven by financial innovations that have opened up more convenient channels for transactions. These include sending of money directly to recipients on mobile phone.

The CBK is conducting its first-ever Diaspora Remittances Survey, which will be concluded next month, seeking information on inflows that will help guide policy and find ways of boosting the role of remittances in supporting the economy and livelihoods.

The survey that is being done in collaboration with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and other stakeholders will assess the efficiency and cost of alternative remittance channels, difficulties of remitting money, the availability of information to Kenyans in the diaspora about investment and the use of remittances.

Kenya tops in diaspora remittances in east Africa and the amount received constitutes the single largest source of forex.