By Judith Gicobi
In April of this year, Kenyans residing and working overseas sent home Ksh.41.3 billion ($355 million). From Ksh.34.8 billion ($299.3 million) in April 2021, diaspora remittances have increased by 18.6%.
For the umpteenth time, the United States remains Kenya’s top remittance provider, contributing 62% of all flows last month.
Kenyans in the diaspora have sent back a total of Ksh.160.5 billion ($1.4 billion) this year, with Ksh.118.4 billion ($1.024 billion) in the first quarter.
Remittances totaled Ksh.42.3 billion ($363.6 million) in March, setting a new monthly high. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has applauded diaspora flows with helping to maintain Kenya’s balance of trade and monetary stability.
The reserve bank highlighted in its weekly report that “The strong remittance inflows continue to support the current account and the stability of the exchange rate,”
Despite this, preliminary CBK statistics on the balance of payments shows an increased current account deficit, assessed at 5.3 percent of GDP in the 12 months to March 2022, up from 4.7 percent in March last year.
“The wider deficit reflects a higher import bill, particularly for oil, which more than offset increased receipts from agricultural and services exports, and remittances,” the CBK explained.
Meanwhile, the local currency has continues to devalue against the US dollar, trading at Ksh.116.40 on Friday, a year-to-date decline of 2.89 percent, surpassing last year’s rate of depreciation of 3.6 percent.