Africa: Kenyans in US Lead in Sending Money Back Home

Nairobi, Kenya — Kenyans working and living in the U.S are leading their peers abroad in sending money back home, as the country remains the largest remittance receiving state in East Africa.

This comes in the wake of an increase in cash sent by Kenyans abroad which according to latest Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data, the inflows grew by 39.5 per cent in 12 months through to October, as appetite for pumping money in different investment vehicles back at home continues to grow.

The folks are also sending home money to support their keens, with remittances standing out as a key instrument in supporting the local economy.

Those living in the US sent home US$1.17 billion (Ksh119.9 billion) between January and October last year, as inflows grew to US$2.61 billion( about Ksh266.7 billion to the current exchange rate).This was up from US$1.87 billion (Ksh191.1 billion) sent the previous year.

Kenyans living and working in Europe sent home US$712 million (Ksh72.7 billion) while those in the other parts of the world combined remitted US$346.8 million (Ksh35.4 billion).

During the ten months, total remittances closed at US$2.23 billion (Ksh227.81 billion), a 42.48 per cent jump compared to US $1.57 billion (Ksh160.4 billion) sent in a similar period in 2017.

"Inward remittance flows remained resilient," CBK notes in its latest bulletin on remittances, "North America, Europe and the rest of the world accounted for 50 per cent, 32 per cent and 18 per cent respectively of the total remittance in October 2018," the regulator notes.

Monthly remittances from the US ranged between US$109,400 ( Ksh11.2million) and US$130,00 (Ksh13.2 million). The highest volumes were recorded in the month of June at US$130, 069 (Ksh13.28million).

Remittances from Europe ranged between US$62,364 (Ksh6.4 million) and US$85,158 (Ksh8.7 million). During the period, the highest remittances by Kenyans living in European countries were recorded in the month of May.

Total monthly remittances were between US$ 205,134 (Ksh20.9 million) and US$266,186 (Ksh27.2 million), which was the highest recorded in the month of June.

Majority of these monies went into investments such as pension funds, treasury bonds and real estate with quite a reasonable share going to households.

A recent study by WorldRemit, a global money transfer service provider, has revealed at least Ksh30 billion is channeled towards education annually.

This has helped hundreds of families across the country overcome school fees and other educational related challenges.

Approximately 220 million children are not in school in low- and middle-income countries, data from UNESCO, World Bank and Kenya's national household survey shows. Of these, 1.5 million are found in Kenya.

WorldRemit which offers fund transfer services to over 145 destinations from over 50 countries is one of the leading digital money transfer companies for the Kenyan diaspora. Its customers complete 1.3 million transfers monthly with more than half of these going to Africa.

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