Kenya will next month commission a survey on remittances from its citizens in the diaspora as it seeks to increase the inflows’ support in development and economic growth.
The first-ever survey of its kind will be conducted in February and March and will be spearheaded by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).
Kenya’s apex bank will work closely with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and other stakeholders.
“The Survey on remittances aims at collecting valuable information on remittance inflows to Kenya to help guide policy, with the objective of boosting the role of remittances in supporting the economy and livelihoods,” CBK said in a statement on Friday.
The valuable information includes; the efficiency and cost of alternative remittance channels, challenges encountered in remitting cash or non-cash transfers, the availability and flow of information to Kenyans in the diaspora about investment opportunities in Kenya and the usage of remittances received.
Remittances are an important source of foreign exchange and they play a pivotal role in socio-economic development of recipient countries.
Despite the devastation by Covid-19 in the source countries, remittance inflows were strongly buoyant in Kenya in 2020.
The CBK notes that remittances rose to a record high of $3,094 million (Sh340.5 billion) in 2020, from $2,796 million (Sh307.7 billion) the previous year, an increase of 10.7 per cent.
In just of December 2020 alone, remittances reached a historical peak of $299 million (Sh32.9 billion).
“This remarkable growth of remittances has been supported by financial innovations that provided Kenyans in the diaspora more convenient channels for their transactions,” governor Patrick Njoroge has said, on behalf of the CBK.
The Survey on remittances will be an online program conducted in two parts—the first phase will focus on the sources of remittances (remitters and the source countries), while the second phase will target the households that receive remittances.
TheCBK said a link with more information concerning the survey will be circulated widely through various communication channels and will also be available on CBK’s website
North America and Europe make up over 70 per cent of where the diaspora inflows to Kenya are from.
Kenya’s National Treasury has for a while been eager to tap the diaspora market to support economic growth through investments in the country, with a keen focus on the capital market in rising infrastructure development funds.