Kenya is set to commission a survey on diaspora remittances as it seeks to increase the inflows’ support in development and economic growth next month.
The first-ever survey, on remittances, will be conducted in February and March, with the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) spearheading the exercise.
It will work closely with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and other stakeholders.
“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,” CBK said in a statement on Friday.
The vital information includes; the efficiency and cost of alternative remittance channels, 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 received.
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 in the source countries.
Remittances rose to a record high of $3,094 million (Sh340.5 billion) in 2020, from $2,796 million(Sh307.7 billion) in 2019, CBK notes, an increase of 10.7 per cent.
In the month 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,” CBK, led by governor Patrick Njoroge has said.
The diaspora remittances Survey will be conducted online 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.
A link with additional information about the survey will be circulated widely through various communication channels and will also be available on CBK’s website, CBK said.
Over 70 per cent of the diaspora inflows to Kenya are from North America and Europe.
The National Treasury has been keen 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.