By John Wanjohi
Kenyans living and working abroad sent home Sh26 billion ($259.40 million) in January 2020, latest data by Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows.
This represents a 3.6 percent growth from the Sh25 billion ($250.3 million) received in the previous month (December 2019).
“The cumulative inflows in the 12 months to January 2020 increased to $2,811 million (Sh281.1 billion) compared to $2,733 million (Sh273.30 billion) in 2019, reflecting a growth of 2.8 percent,” CBK said in its latest weekly bulletin.
Nearly half (48 percent) of January diaspora remittances were made by Kenyans in North America, 17 percent by those in Europe while the rest of the world accounted for 34 percent.
The cumulative diaspora remittances for the year 2019 stood at an annual record of $2.7 billion (Sh280 billion), representing a 3.7 percent from 2018 when Kenyans abroad sent home $2.6 billion (KSh272.3 billion).
The 2019 inflows fell short of the World Bank’s projection of Sh285.5 billion, attributed to mounting economic concerns in the US and the United Kingdom.
”With the world slipping into a recession it is feared that remittance inflows may suffer as companies layoff staff in the developed world even as employers and employees adopt austerity measures,” World Bank said in a report.
Remittances from the diaspora have remained Kenya’s leading source of foreign exchange since 2015, ahead of earnings from tourism, tea, coffee and horticulture exports. Kenyans in the diaspora remitted $295 million (Sh30.30 billion) in June 2019, an all-time monthly high.
In Africa, Kenya is the fourth-largest recipient of diaspora remittances behind Egypt, Nigeria, and Ghana.