Kenyans living and working in North America defied the Covid-19 pandemic to send home a whopping $145.95 million (Sh15.7 billion) in May.
This is the highest ever amount of money received from the region that includes the US, Canada, and Mexico in a month, according to data by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).
The amount represents a 19.6 percent growth from Sh12.76 billion ($118.71 million) sent from the region in the previous month.
The diaspora inflows from North America account for 56.5 percent of cumulative Sh27.78 billion ($258.15 million) sent to the country by Kenyans abroad in May.
During the same period last year, diaspora remittances from the US, Canada, and Mexico accounted for 48.6 percent of total inflows.
CBK had projected a slump in diaspora remittances citing job losses and salary cuts from Kenyans living abroad, especially the US where 40 million people have been rendered jobless by the Covid-19 crisis.
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.
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).
In Africa, Kenya is the fourth-largest recipient of diaspora remittances behind Egypt, Nigeria, and Ghana.