Remittances by Kenyans in N. America hit Ksh. 15.7 billion in May

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge
CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge. PHOTO/COURTESY

Regulatory filings by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), have revealed that in the month of May, Kenyans living in North America sent back home Ksh. 15.7 billion, flouting the tough economic situations that have affected the nation’s workforce ever since the Covid-19 pandemic hit.  

According to the Central Bank, the remittances, which covered Canada, the United States and Mexico, increased by 19.6 percent or Ksh. 2.5 billion from Ksh. 12.76 billion recorded in April.

Among the three nations, the CBK singled out the US as the country which brought in the highest remittances in the period under review. The United States accounted for 56.5 percent of total remittances sent back to Kenya in May, the equivalent of Ksh. 27.78 billion. This was an increase from the 48.6 percent share the Donald Trump-led nation held in May 2019.

As it stands, the United States has recorded the highest number of Covid-19 infections worldwide which has led to numerous job losses that have stifled the region’s economy. According to the Washington-based Pew Research Centre, the US is home to approximately 90,000 Kenyans with about 30,000 living there without proper documentation.

The CBK had earlier suggested that cash sent home would fall as a result of the layoffs that have affected Kenyans living abroad. However, the May remittances represented a recovery from a six-month low of Ksh.22.4 billion recorded in April.

The increase in remittances from North America coincided with an increase of cash sent back home from Europe which rose to Ksh. 4.59 billion from Ksh. 3.75 billion recorded in April. Remittances from the rest of the world similarly by 27 percent to Ksh.7.48 billion.

The CBK estimates that the jump in remittances was augmented by reclamations in key foreign economies and the availability of different methods of sending cash such as directly into the recipients’ mobile phones.

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