The amount of money Kenyans in the diaspora send back home – also known as remittances – has been steadily rising in the last 10 to 15 years.
As a result, remittance inflows to Kenya currently represent one of the country’s main sources of foreign exchange, rivaling export earnings from key economic sectors such as tourism, tea, and horticulture. Additionally, the social impact of remittances cannot be overstated as they largely provide funds for basic household needs such as food, household goods, medicine and payment of education expenses.
The CBK notes in the Diaspora Remittances Survey that inflows to Kenya increased tenfold in the last 15 years to a record of $3,718 million in 2021. The trend has continued in earnest in 2022, with CBK data showing that inflows for the first nine months of the year increased to $3.053 billion, a 12.7% jump from $2.71 billion in the first nine months of 2021.
The sacrifice that Kenyan migrants make to support their family and friends back home continues to have a positive impact on economic and social development in the country.
Despite the rise in the cost-of-living, Kenyan migrants continue to support their loved ones in the country. Some have adjusted their lifestyles to be able to save and send money back home. These heroic Kenyans, some of whom brave long periods without visiting home, deserve special recognition as we market International Migrants Day.
Mr. Kanyali is the Regional Manager, East Africa at WorldRemit