Diaspora remittances in the first quarter of 2022 have grown by 23.5 per cent to Ksh.118.4 billion ($1.024 billion) according to new data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).
The dollar flows from Kenyans living and working abroad rose from Ksh.95.9 billion ($829.4 million) over a similar period in 2021.
The remittances set a new monthly record in March at Ksh.42 billion ($363.6 million) which represents a 25 per cent growth in inflows from Ksh.33.6 billion ($290.8 million) a year prior.
The United States has remained the largest source of remittances into Kenya, accounting for 58 per cent of the flows in March 2022.
Diaspora remittances have remained a key source of funding for not just households but government by providing a consistent source of foreign exchange.
“The strong remittance inflows continue to support the current account and the stability of the exchange rate,” noted the CBK.
Over recent months, the flows have been seen as pivotal having partly offset weakness in the local currency unit with the shilling having come under pressure from higher import costs which have widened the country’s current account balance.
CBK’s official foreign exchange reserves were up by Ksh.23.2 billion ($201) million pushing the mostly dollar-denominated store of FX to an equivalent five months of Kenya’s monthly average imports.
Last year, Kenyans in the diaspora sent home Ksh.428 billion ($3.7 billion), a 12-month historical record for the remittances