US tops remittances as dollar flows hit Ksh.31B in March
The United States is Kenya’s largest remittances source by country contributing to about half of flows at any given period.
This is according to new data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), which has for the first time detailed the remittance data by source country from the previous categorization by region.
In March, the dollar flows stood at Ksh.31.4 billion ($290.8 million) representing a 27.1 per cent growth rate from Ksh.24.7 billion ($228.8 million) at the same time last year.
Flows from the United States accounted for about 55.9 per cent of all the remittances.
Other top source countries in the period were the United Kingdom (11.2 per cent), Saudi Arabia (4 per cent) and Canada and Australia at 2.9 per cent respectively.
According to analysis of the backdated remittances by source country covering 2020, remittances from the US stood at Ksh.179.9 billion ($1.67 billion).
This is an equivalent 53.7 per cent of all remittances to Kenya during the year which were estimated at Ksh.334.8 billion ($3.1 billion).
Remittance inflows continue to prove an essential source of foreign exchange for the country alongside supporting household especially through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, Kenyans abroad sent home a record $3.1 billion (Ksh.341 billion at the then exchange rate) defying the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic on global economies.
The CBK has attributed the significant growth of the inflows to financial innovations which have delivered more efficient channels to support the transactions.
The reserve bank is currently conducting an anonymous online diaspora remittance survey which runs to May 17 this year.
The survey is focused on the cost and efficiency of sending the inflows, uses of the remittances and difficulties encountered in sending cash or non-cash remittances.
Findings from the survey are expected to be used in the development of guiding policies intended to boost the role of remittances in supporting the economy.