Boost as diaspora remittances hit Sh34b -CBK

By Malachi Motano

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), in its weekly markets bulletin recently reported that remittance inflows increased by 22.3 per cent to Sh34 billion ($315.8 million) as at May 2021, compared to $258.2 million in the same period last year, attributed to the higher flows from the US and Saudi Arabia.

The inflows from Asia jumped 12 per cent month-on-month to Sh3.5 billion, as remittances from North America, which includes the US, Canada and Bahamas grew by six per cent to Sh20.8 billion

The Country also witnessed remittances from European countries grow by 3 per cent to Sh7 billion. Africa stayed flat at Sh1.4 billion.

According CBK, this is the first time diaspora remittances have crossed the $300 million mark, against the expectations of a dip due to the effects of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

 “The United States continues to be the largest source of remittances to Kenya, accounting for 57.8 percent of remittances in May 2021,” CBK.

However, there is, growing prominence of dollars from Western Asia, especially Saudi Arabia, from where Kenyans sent home Sh1.62 billion in May this year, attributed to the increasing migrant Kenyan labour to the region, including domestic workers, doctors, university lecturers, consultants, bankers, engineers, nurses and hotel managers.

There were worries that diaspora dollars would take a hit as millions of people lost jobs when some lockdown measures were imposed at the outbreak of Covid 19 pandemic however, massive support by rich countries to their populations helped reduce the impact of the job cuts and helped As result, Kenyans in the diaspora send even more money back home to help their relatives cope with the pandemic with the cumulative inflows in the 12 months to May 2021 totaling to Sh63.3 billion ($3.365 billion).

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