Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Kenya remittance inflows increased to US$3,094 million in 2020 from US$2,796 million in 2019, which was an increase of 10.7 percent. This is contained in a press release from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). The World Bank predicted that remittance flows to low and middle-income countries will fall by 7 percent, followed by a further decline of 7.5 percent in 2021 due to the pandemic
Remittances Reach Historic Level
Remittances play a pivotal role in socio-economic development of recipient countries, and are an important source of foreign exchange. In Kenya, remittance inflows were strongly buoyant in 2020, despite the devastation by COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the source countries.
The press statement notes that remittances to Kenya reached US$299 million in the month of December 2020 alone. The significant growth in remittances inflows despite the pandemic is attributed to financial innovations that provided Kenyans in the diaspora more convenient methods of sending money to Kenya. Kenya is the third largest receiver of remittances in Sub-Saharan Africa after Nigeria and Ghana.
Diaspora Remitttances Survey
Meanwhile, the bank regulator has announced a Diaspora Remittances Survey will be conducted online in February and March 2021 in collaboration with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The survey will collect data on remittance inflows to Kenya to help guide remittance policy. The ultimate goal is to support the role of remittances in supporting the economy and livelihoods. Data to be collected in the survey include the efficiency and cost of alternative remittance channels, the difficulties encountered in remitting cash or non-cash transfers, the availability of information to Kenyans in the diaspora about investment opportunities in Kenya, and the usage of remittances by beneficiaries.
The Diaspora Remittances Survey will be conducted online in two parts. The first part will focus on the sources of remittances (remitters and the source countries) while the second part will look at the households that receive remittances.
Best Ways to Transfer Money to Kenya
Some of the best services to send money to Kenya to your friends and family members include WorldRemit, Transferwise, Remitly, Simbapay, and Xoom. You can also use crypto-based remittances startups such as BitPesa, and BitLipa. Alternatively, you can transfer the money via Bitcoin to Kenya without third parties.