Latest figures from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) show all-time record remittances from Kenyans around the world in 2017. In the 12 months to the end of December, Kenyans abroad sent home a staggering Sh197.12 billion ($1.95 billion), an increase of Sh22.82 on 2016 when the figure was Sh174.30 billion, a growth of 13.09 per cent.
The amount of money sent in December alone was in itself a record for one month, reaching Sh20.64 billion ($20.82 million).
Remittances from Kenyans living abroad remains the country’s top money earner, with earnings from tea exports at Sh129 billion for the year, and from tourism Sh120 billion, although both sectors showed a growth in 2017 with earnings from tea exports up by 7.5 per cent and from tourism by some 20 per cent.
NORTH AMERICA LARGEST SOURCE OF FUNDS
North America (the US and Canada) continues to be the largest source of remittances, with Sh101.60 billion ($1 billion) transferred in 2017 but there was also a hefty increase in money coming in from Europe, a growth of 22.71 per cent to Sh63.40 billion ($629.11 million) over the year.
The CBK’s data however, only records money transferred through formal channels such as commercial banks and foreign exchange bureaus and does not include cash brought into the country by Kenyans returning home and other “informal channels” which has been estimated by some to in all likelihood double the figures estimated for remittances by the CBK.