Kenyans in the diaspora have continued to defy the financial crisis occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic by sending home more cash.
The diaspora sent home Sh28.8 billion ($263.2 million) in October, according to the latest data by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). In the same month last year, Sh24.6 billion ($224.3 million) was received, a 17.3 percent growth.
The amount also represents about a 1.5 percent increase from the Sh28.4 billion remitted by Kenyans living and working abroad in the previous month (September 2020).
The cumulative diaspora remittances in the 10 months to October this year rose by 7.1 percent to Sh328.5 billion from Sh306.6 billion at the same time last year.
The growth in diaspora inflows has defied expectations by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the World Bank. The two had predicted a slump in the remittances due to the shocks faced by Kenyans abroad including work-related restrictions and job cuts triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Diaspora inflows 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 wired home a record $2.8 billion (Sh306.2 billion). Kenya is the fourth-largest recipient of diaspora remittances in Africa behind Egypt, Nigeria, and Ghana.