Kenyans living and working abroad sent home $228.9 million (Sh24 billion) in March 2020, according to the latest data by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).
This represents a four percent growth compared with $218.9 million (Sh23 billion) remitted in the previous month—February. The slight growth comes even as the world continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, which has infected over 3 million persons globally and killed more than 200,000 as of April 28th.
The cumulative diaspora inflows in the 12 months to March 2020 hit Sh303.6 billion compared to Sh291.2 billion in the same period the preceding year, reflecting an increase of 4.3 percent.
During the period under review, remittances from the United States, and the United Kingdom did not decline, CBK said.
“However, the inflows from South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Mauritius and Oman declined, reflecting the impact of COVID-19,” CBK said in its latest weekly bulletin.
CBK carries out a survey on remittances every month through formal channels including commercial banks and other international financial services providers in Kenya.
Remittances from the diaspora have remained Kenya’s leading source of foreign exchange since 2015, ahead of earnings from tourism, tea, coffee and horticulture exports.
In Africa, Kenya is the fourth-largest recipient of diaspora remittances behind Egypt, Nigeria, and Ghana.
Last year, Kenyans abroad sent home $2.7 billion (Sh280 billion), a new annual record, according to CBK. This represented a 3.7 percent growth from the previous year when diaspora remittances stood at $2.6 billion (Sh272.3 billion).
The World Bank projects a global decline in remittances by about 20 percent citing the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This would be the biggest fall in recent history largely due to a decline in the wages and employment of migrant workers, who are more vulnerable to loss of employment during an economic crisis, the World Bank said.