KENYANS working abroad sent home a total of Sh102 billion last year, up from Sh75.7 billion in 2011. The 31.4 per cent growth places the diaspora remittances as among the top four foreign exchange earners for Kenya after tea, horticulture and tourism.
Central Bank data shows that in the month of December alone, remittances to Kenya grew by 24 per cent to hit Sh8.9 billion year on year. The figure was 8.4 per cent higher than the Sh8.2 billion recorded in November.
Mostly Kenyans living abroad send money for investment in the real estate and other businesses as well as paying school fees for the siblings. Remittances from abroad also rise in December because of the holidays.
CBK said remittances from all source markets have grown substantially since the second half of 2012, with inflows from North America accounting for almost half of the total flows.
In the month of December, inflows from North America grew by 17 per cent and 5 per cent to Sh4.4 billion compared to Sh3.7 billion and Sh4.2 billion recorded in October 2012 and November, 2012 respectively.
Remittance inflows from Europe accounted for 28 per cent of the total in December while inflows from the rest of the world also increased by 11.5 per cent and 6.6 percent in October, 2012 and November, 2012 respectively.
CBK said that the increase is an indication of resilience in inflows to Kenya despite the weak global economy. The Central Bank conducts a survey on remittance inflows every month through the formal channels that include commercial banks and other authorised international remittances service providers in Kenya.