INFLOWS

Kenyans abroad set new monthly record on remittances

Sends home Sh36.8 billion in July.

In Summary

•The US continues to be the largest source accounting for 58.3% of inflows.

•Other significant source markets include the UK, Germany, Canada and Gulf states.

A cashier at a Nairobi forex bureau counts dollars and shillings, on 22 July 2021/
A cashier at a Nairobi forex bureau counts dollars and shillings, on 22 July 2021/
Image: FREDRICK OMONDI

Kenyans in the diaspora sent home $336.7 million (Sh36.8 billion) in July, setting a new monthly record on remittances since the Central Bank of Kenya started capturing the data.

This offsets the record that had been set in May when the inflows hit $315.8 million (Sh34.5 billion), before slowing to $305.9 million (Sh33.5 billion) in June.

Last month’s remittances are a 21.6 per cent increase compared to the $277 million (Sh30.3 billion) recorded in July 2020.

The cumulative inflows in the 12 months to July 2021 totaled $3.4 billion (Sh376.5 billion ) compared to $2.9 billion (Sh317.2 billion) in the same period in 2020, a 20.3 per cent increase.

“The United States continues to be the largest source of remittances into Kenya, accounting for 58.3 per cent of remittances in July 2021,” CBK notes in its latest weekly bulletin.

Other significant source markets include the UK, Germany, and Canada. Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain have also emerged as important drivers of remittances.

Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa lead as the top African source markets for remittance inflows into Kenya.

The high volumes come as Kenyans in the diaspora continue to provide a crucial lifeline to the local economy, which is still reeling from effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is in line with the growing number of Kenyans migrating to these countries in search of jobs.

Remittances not only represent an important source of forex but also support many livelihoods.

Education, healthcare, and household needs are the main uses of remittances in Kenya, an analysis by global payments company, WorldRemit, indicates, sectors that tend to have a multiplier effect on development.

Meanwhile, the CBK, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have converged efforts to capitalise on the rising remittance inflows into Kenya, including publishing more granular remittance data that can inform policy making.

The Ministry of Labour has also launched an initiative to secure more than 30,000 new jobs for Kenyans in Gulf States, a move that could potentially lead to increased remittances from these countries.