Diaspora remittances rose 14.4 percent in December 2019 to Sh25.32 billion ($250.3 million) from Sh22.13 billion ($218.8 million) recorded in November, capping a marginal increase for 2019.
“North America, Europe and the rest of the world accounted for 50 percent, 20 percent and 30 percent, respectively, of the total remittances in December,” CBK’s weekly bulletin said.
This brings the cumulative inflows in the full year 2019 to Sh282.82 billion ($2,796 million), representing 3.7 percent growth from Sh272.80 billion ($2,697 million) in 2018.
In the 12 months, inflows were highest in June at Sh29.87 billion, declining to Sh22.71 billion in July on effect of a 10 percent tax. However, the remittances were lowest in February at Sh20.13 billion.
A continued increase in diaspora remittances has placed the foreign income as the leading foreign exchange earner in the country ahead of exported products such as tea and horticulture that previously led.
According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, exports of fresh horticultural produce were valued at Sh105.97 billion in nine months of 2019.
Tea earned the country a total of Sh82.17 billion.
The remittances help stabilise the Kenyan shilling against major currencies especially the dollar. The shilling has been stable for the past year thanks to falling trade deficit and the inflows.