Diaspora remittance now among top earner for Kenya - Report
NAIROBI, Kenya - New data released by the Central Bank of Kenya reveals that the country’s diaspora remittances rose by 8.34 percent to $4 billion in 2022.
This now places diaspora remittance as the second top earner of foreign currency closing in on exports, which brought in $5.8 billion worth of foreign currency in the same period.
Tea still remains the top leading export for Kenya, having earned the country a whopping $1.2 billion in 2022 last year.
Horticulture followed closely at $901 million, chemicals $521 million, coffee $301 million, and petroleum products $77 million.
The creation of the diaspora state department by President William Ruto’s administration is meant to boost diaspora relations for Kenyans.
Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, Dr. Alfred Mutua, and his Principal Secretary, Roselyn Njogu have been on a charming move to tackle the welfare of the Kenyans living and working overseas, which to the new administration is a key top priority.
In a local TV interview, Dr. Mutua says that “ The government wants to take care of Kenyans; provide opportunities for them to get international jobs; to leverage them into positions and powers overseas so that they can help those at home; and we want to open up trade opportunities for those who are overseas.”.
Last year the East African Community headquarters set up a diaspora desk charged with facilitating East Africans living in the diaspora to invest and trade in the region.
Peter Mathuki -Secretary General of EAC said that the regional bloc has also set up a new diaspora desk in Arusha -Tanzania that is tasked with facilitating the diaspora matters within the bloc.
Currently, the EAC diaspora has enabled the region’s foreign direct investment to grow 35 percent to $8 billion last year.
“This helped the region’s economy withstand the devastating economic impact of Covid-19 and the trickle-down effect of the Russia-Ukraine war,” Mathuki said while attending the East Africa annual trade and investment conference in Irving, Texas, USA, last year.
Despite this tremendous diaspora remittance growth in Kenya, other countries within the Sub Sahara African region are not earning as much from remittances.
The latest data shows that Ethiopia and Uganda have managed to cross the $1 billion mark in the recent past.
Ethiopia earned $2.5 billion in 2021, based on the National Bank of Ethiopia’s latest statistics, while
EAC secretariat’s statistics reveal that Uganda earned $1.1 billion in the 12 months to July 2022. Tanzania got $569 million, Rwanda $246 million, and Burundi $45.6 million in 2020.