Kenyans residing in North America send more money back home than their counterparts in Europe

According to fresh data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) remittances by Kenyans living abroad rose 47.45 per cent.

Kenyans living largely in the US and Canada, sent home Sh11.71 billion ($115.97 million) and accounted for 55.13 per cent of the total inflows compared to those in Europe who sent Sh6.45 billion ($63.82 million) in the month of February, according to Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data.

Cash from North America marked a 77.53 per cent jump from Sh6.60 billion ($65.33 million) in February 2017 while cash from Europe rose 36.69 per cent year-on-year to Sh6.45 billion ($63.82 million).

According to latest data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) remittances by Kenyans living abroad jumped by nearly one-half in February to hit a new monthly high of Sh21.25 billion ($210.36 million), driven by increased inflows from the US.

The data shows the cash rose 47.45 per cent compared to Sh14.41 billion ($142.665 million) a year earlier, a new record set for the third month in a row.

Diaspora inflows in February were slightly higher than Sh21.10 billion ($208.92 million) in January and Sh20.59 billion ($203.82 million in December, which were both historic highs.

Remittances from the rest of the world were flat, rising by 0.26 per cent in the period to Sh3.09 billion ($30.57 million).

An estimated three-quarters of Kenya’s diaspora remittances go into family support such as school fees and medical bills.

Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA) chairman Shem Ochuodho argued last November that this could be reversed in favour of investment if citizens abroad were offered incentives such as tax rebates – usually given to foreign investors – to invest back home.

Financial services firms, including commercial banks, have in recent years developed savings and investment products such as mortgages targeted at the diaspora community who have historically favoured real estate.

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