Kenyan Diaspora remittances up 16%, boosted by electronic platforms

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Remittances to Kenya have increased 16 per cent over the past year, according to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), boosted by the growth in remittances through the likes of Western Union and M-Pesa.

The bank said the country has received nearly US$120 million from Kenyan diaspora, up US$17 million from last year.

“Remittance inflows from all regions remained resilient, with North America accounting for 51.4 percent of total inflows or US%61.42 million in March 2014,” the bank said.

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While the US accounts for half of the Kenyan remittance market, Europe made up 25 per cent of inflows while the rest of the world of the accounted for totaled 24 per cent.

In March 2009 Kenya’s monthly remittances totaled US$55,000 compared to US$120,000 in March 2014.

The data also said Western Union, M-Pesa and IRNET accounted for KSh824 million (US$9.4 million) alone in March, up from KSh767 million (US$8.78 million) in January, demonstrating the importance of electronic remittance platforms.

Last year,Safaricom announced a partnership with Western Union allowing Kenyan diaspora in Europe to send money to M-Pesa accounts.

The African remittance market has grown substantially over the past few years withamounts exceeding the cash flow of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank combined.

According to a study by Infinite Potentials Consulting (IPC), remittances on the continent totalled over US$31 billion during 2012.

“Remittances to the whole of Africa in 2012 totaled US$60 billion (excluding remittances via unofficial channels). The value is more than total Foreign Direct Investment valued at US$50 billion and more than the total 2011 foreign aid, valued at US$51 billion,” the company said.

The African remittance and mobile industry got a boost this year whennine high profile telecoms agreed to work together to accelerate the implementation of interoperable mobile money services across Africa and the Middle East regions.

-humanipo.com

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