Diaspora remittances for May rise to Sh8.4 billion
Remittances from Kenyans living and working abroad 2012 rose to $101.0 million (Sh8.4 billion) in May, a 46.8 per cent increase compared to similar period last year and 4.5 per cent above amounts remitted in April this year. The increase was attributed to aggressive outreach to the diaspora to invest in government's savings, development and infrastructure bonds through formal channels and improvement in data collection techniques for proper classification of remittances by commercial banks.
The Central Bank of Kenya cites increased competition among money transfer service providers which lead to reduced transaction charges, and partnership between mobile phone companies' with international money transfer players such as Western Union as having made it cheaper and convenient to remit money back home.
Remittances from North America maintained the lead source of diaspora inflows into Kenya with an increase of 9.4 per cent from $47.3 million in April 2012 to $1.7 million in May. This accounted for 51 per cent of the total remittances for May. Over the same period, remittance inflows from Europe increased by 5.1per cent from $26.8 million to US$ 28.1 million. Inflows from the rest of the world declined by 2 per cent from $21.6 million to $21.1 million in May, but the Central Bank has not indicated the cause of the reduction.
The average remittances inflow in the year to May 2012 amounted to $87.7 million up from $61 million recorded in the year to May 2011. The 12-month cumulative average remittances flow has sustained an upward trend since the second half of 2010. The Central Bank of Kenya conducts a survey on remittance inflows every month from the formal channels that include commercial banks and other permitted international remittances service providers operating Kenya, and does not capture data from informal remittance channels.