Kenya received $3.09 billion billion in remittances in 2020 supported by financial innovations that provided its diaspora community more convenient channels for their transactions, the central bank said on Friday.
CBK said the remittance inflows were strongly buoyant in 2020, despite the devastation by COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the source countries.
“Remittances rose to a record high of US$3,094 million in 2020, from US$2,796 million in 2019, an increase of 10.7 percent. In the month of December 2020 alone, remittances reached a historical peak of US$299 million,” the Central Bank said in a statement announcing the first-ever Diaspora Remittances Survey.
The regulator said the survey 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.
It will be conducted in February and March 2021, in collaboration with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and other stakeholders.
For the month of December, remittance inflows remained resilient amounting to USD 299.6 million compared to USD 250.3 in December 2019, an increase of 19.7 percent the CBK said.
CBK only measures the money remitted through formal channels that include commercial banks and other authorized international remittances service providers in Kenya.
Remittances in Kenya are the biggest source of foreign exchange, ahead of tourism, tea, coffee, and horticulture exports.
The World Bank projected an estimated 20 percent global decline in remittances in 2020 due to the economic crisis induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and shutdown.