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Saudi Arabia has emerged as the fastest-growing source of diaspora remittances to Kenya.
Business Daily Kenyans working and living in Saudi Arabia sent home $302.26 million (Sh37.78 billion) last year compared to $185.01 million (Sh23.12 billion) the previous year, representing a 63.38 percent jump.
Data by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows Saudi Arabia, Middle East’s largest economy, was the biggest driver of growth in remittances into the country last year with Sh14.65 billion more compared to 2021.
The US, the UK and Saudi Arabia are the three largest sources of inflows to Kenya, accounting for nearly three-quarters of annual diaspora remittances into the country.
Saudi Arabia is on course to overtake cash wired from the UK, having surpassed South Africa which has been the third-largest source of money transfer from Kenyans working abroad.
The emergence of Saudi Arabia as a top source of remittances has prompted the government to seek a bilateral deal with the Gulf state over a framework under which professionals will be recruited in the Middle East country.
There are approximately 200,000 Kenyans employed in Saudi Arabia, 60 percent of whom are professionals in sectors such as healthcare, ICT and construction.
Kenyan authorities have been under pressure to enforce measures to protect her migrant workers in Saudia, where cases of abuse and deaths of domestic workers have been rampant.
Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Cabinet Secretary Alfred Mutua disputed reports of widespread mistreatment of Kenyan workers in Saudi Arabia, insisting that most of the victims were lawbreakers.
“Our girls are suffering because of these agencies because they don’t want put money into training our girls. Not all [of them], but quite a number. For every 100 girls, 20-30 girls vanish at the airport, picked up by other Kenyans to undertake an illicit activity,” Mutua said last month.
“It is not all gloom as we hear. There are many opportunities. One of the things we have been debating on is that we don’t want a lot of Kenyans to go there as domestic workers. We are about to sign a labour agreement with them [Saudi Arabia] so that we get more professionals to be allowed to go over there.”
Remittances are great ofcourse.But, let it not be an excuse for turning a blind eye to the suffering of those kenyans who maybe in extreme distress.
"Saudi Arabia has emerged as the fastest-growing source of...." How about source of modern day slave labor, and death to the individuals too? Bure kabisa to our current crop of leaders for allowing this to happen.
Are the trying to use this story to cover up this sad state of affairs?
Slave trade and human trafficking continues.