May diaspora remittances up 22 per cent to Sh34 billion

Kenyans working and living abroad wired home Kes 34 billion in May compared to Kes 27.8 billion worth of remittances during similar month in 2020.

The 22 per cent jump is attributable to a steady rise in the amount of money send to Kenya from the key diaspora cash source regions; the United States and Canada as well as from Europe.

Money send from North America increased to Kes 20.6 billion in May from Kes 15.7 billion wired in the comparative month last year.

Equally, the cash received from Europe in May surged to Kes 7.4 billion from Kes 4.6 billion recorded in a similar period in 2020.

The latest data from the Central Bank, however, shows that remittances from the other parts of the world in May contracted to Kes 6.1 billion compared to Kes 7.5 billion received in a similar month last year.

Read also: Growing diaspora cash transfers flowing to a few pockets in Kenya

Cash received from abroad has been on a steady rise since February when Nairobi received Kes 28 billion. The Central Bank data shows that the country received Kes 31 billion in March, and Kes 32 billion in April.

The US and Canada remains Kenya’s primary source of remittances with CBK data showing Kenyans working and living in North America wire home tripple what the country receives from Europe every month.

A recent study by the World Bank on coping mechanisms by Kenyan households during the Covid-19 pandemic showed that only seven per cent received cash from the diaspora community.

“Only a small share of households received remittances (7 per cent) in January–March 2021. The remittance amount was larger for around half of the households that received remittances compared to pre-COVID-19 amounts. However, one-quarter received smaller amounts, which may have consequences for household welfare,” the report read.

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