Diaspora dollars surpass 2020 record at Ksh.380 billion in November
Kenyans living in the diaspora have already sent home more cash in 11 months of 2021 to November than they did in the whole of 2020, setting a new record for the remittances.
New data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) puts remittances in November at Ksh.36.1 billion ($320.1 million), 24.2 per cent higher than dollar flows in the same month last year.
Cumulatively, the diaspora remittances in the 11 months stand at Ksh.380.1 billion ($3.367 billion) compared to Ksh.349.3 billion ($3.094 billion) across 2020.
In November, the United States remained the largest source of remittances into the country accounting for 67.3 per cent of the dollar flows last month.
Year over year, the dollar inflows have already surpassed last year’s record by Ksh.30.8 billion ($273 million) with December flows yet to be booked.
This means that the 2021 calendar year will represent yet another record for the significant flows.
The diaspora flows remain significant to the economy, representing not just a crucial foreign exchange route for the CBK but also playing a pivotal role in boosting household incomes.
While the COVID-19 crisis was seen as a potential handbrake to the flows, the pandemic has had the opposite effects as Kenya’s diaspora seemingly raise their support for family members and relatives back home.
Besides the pandemic’s strains, CBK has previously attributed the growth in remittances to an ease in distribution channels especially from digital solutions such as mobile money.
In the year so far, the diaspora remittances set two new monthly records in July and October.
Earlier this year, CBK initiated a survey that sought to map out the remittances by source and use in a bid to strengthen the key foreign exchange route.
According to a survey published in November by Kenyan based- diaspora remittances startup Pangea Trust, about half of the dollar inflows go to family and friends.
Donations to charities and religious groups meanwhile take up 17 per cent of the flows while investments into businesses and properties take up 15 per cent of the diaspora-dollars cake.
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