Market News

Diaspora remittances hit Sh122bn in four months

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Central Bank of Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Kenyans living and working abroad sent home Sh122.69 billion ($1.13 billion) in four months to April, defying the economic weigh-down of the coronavirus pandemic that continues to be felt globally.
  • The inflows rose for the second consecutive month to hit Sh32.53 billion (299.3 million) in April, helping to propel cumulative four-month inflows by 23.3 percent above the Sh93.37 billion that was received in a similar period last year.

Kenyans living and working abroad sent home Sh122.69 billion ($1.13 billion) in four months to April, defying the economic weigh-down of the coronavirus pandemic that continues to be felt globally.

The inflows rose for the second consecutive month to hit Sh32.53 billion (299.3 million) in April, helping to propel cumulative four-month inflows by 23.3 percent above the Sh93.37 billion that was received in a similar period last year.

“The United States continues to be the largest source of remittances into Kenya, accounting for 57.2 percent of remittances in April 2021, said the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

North America’s remittances hit four-month high of Sh19.54 billion while that of Europe rose to Sh7.01 billion—the highest in 27 months.

The April remittances is the second all-time high to have ever been sent home in a single month, only dwarfed by last December’s Sh32.56 billion ($299.56 million).

The latest figure means Kenyans living and working abroad were sending in Sh7.67 billion weekly, up from Sh5.84 billion in the previous similar period.

This continues the growth trend in remittances, muting earlier fears that economic disruption that had hit countries such as the US and UK would halt the rise.

CBK had at the onset of the pandemic last year tipped diaspora remittances to dip but this was defied by economies striking a balance between economic activities and lowering infections.

Remittances have been boosted by recoveries in major economies abroad and by more ways to send cash, including straight to the recipients’ mobile phones.

The continued growth also defies the fact that remittance costs for many African countries remain high when compared to United Nations’ recommendations that remittance costs should not exceed three percent of total value of money being send.