Kenyans living and working in the diaspora wired home a record Kes39.8 billion (US$350.6 million), compared to $299.6 million (Sh33.9 billion) recorded by December 2020 as they supported their families during Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Cumulatively, the diaspora send Kes421.6 billion (US$3.718 billion) in the year ended December 2021, the latest Central Bank data shows, being a 17 percent increase from the Kes350.9 billion (US$3.094 billion) recorded in 2020.
The US remains the largest source of remittances into Kenya, accounting for 63.2 percent in 2021, the Central Bank of Kenya statistics show. Europe ranks second as the other primary source of foreign reserves for Kenya in diaspora remittances.
The Middle East—especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar nations— are also gaining prominence due to the rising numbers of migrant workers from Kenya wiring cash back home.
At the moment, diaspora dollar inflows are the single largest source of Kenya’s foreign reserve surpassing tea, horticulture.
“The inflows were higher by 9.5 percent compared to the US$3201. million in November, in line with seasonal factors,” CBK said in a statement.
The CBK has in recent briefings noted that improved remittance channels have helped raise the amount being sent home, largely through the adoption of digital channels that make it easier and cheaper to send and receive money.
Early this month, the Senate has approved a proposed law that will give Kenyans living in the diaspora special incentives, including wealth protection to encourage them to invest back home.
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The Bill seeks to amend the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act to require the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, in consultation with the relevant Kenya mission to promote the establishment of a voluntary savings scheme for Kenyans living abroad.