Kenyans living in US sent Sh19.2bn back home in October alone

Diaspora remittances account for the largest source of foreign currency inflows into Kenya, ahead of tea, tourism, horticulture and coffee exports.

Fresh data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows diaspora remittances rose 5.3 per cent compared to September’s Sh18.2 billion ($176.9 million).

“Remittances continue to be at record levels. We always have an acceleration as we come towards Christmas, and it is something that we should continue to expect,” said CBK governor Patrick Njoroge at a press conference on November 24.

Year-on-year, the remittances have gone up by 30 per cent or $42.95 million (Sh4.4 billion) and Kenyans residing in the US on average send home more than Sh10 billion a month.

Diaspora remittances account for the largest source of foreign currency inflows into Kenya, ahead of tea, tourism, horticulture and coffee exports.

Kenyans in North America continue to send home the bulk of the remittances, accounting for 56 per cent of the total last month ahead of Europe at 30 per cent and the rest of the world at 14 per cent.

In the month of September for instance, the amount sent home from North America topped the $100 million mark for the first time (at $101.05 million), and continued to grow in October to hit a record $104.5 million.

On the other hand, European remittances, which stood at $55.3 million in October, have held between $53.7 million and $55.7 million since May.

The total remittances for the 10-month period stood at Sh161.9 billion ($1.57 billion), compared to Sh146.6 billion ($1.42 billion) in the same period last year.

Remittances are crucial in many Kenyan homes with the money sometimes dependable by whole families paying for school fees, medicines, food and development, Hundreds of Kenyan families have lift themselves out of Poverty through remittances.

Nationally the Kenyan economy has boomed and withstood shocks because of the diaspora remitances.

The rising remittances have helped the current account, keeping the deficit below seven per cent in a year when import costs of food, petroleum and transport equipment for the SGR have gone up considerably.

This has helped keep the shilling relatively strong.

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