Kenyans living abroad likely to send more money ahead of August polls

Kenyans living abroad are likely to send more money to the country during this electioneering period, cites The Star.

According to financial analysts, if 2013 trend is anything to go by; the figures will increase.

“Remittance should increase as we gear up for elections as it comes to support households. Based on previous data we may likely experience stagnation during the actual election period,” notes Francis Mwangi, Standard Investment Bank head of research.

Central Bank data shows that month on month cash inflows sent by Kenyans living abroad dropped by 6.05 per cent from $147.53 million (Sh15.32 billion) in March to $138.60 million (Sh14.39 billion) in April.

Advertisement by Jamhuri News

CBK data also shows the value of remittances in April 2017 also declined by 3.43 per cent compared to $143.53 million (Sh14.90 billion) reported during the same period last year.

Economist, Jibran Qureishi from Stanbic Bank Regional said that: “If you look at our key source markets, North America and the UK, there have been a lot of geopolitical uncertainties such as the US election and Brexit. These could be the reason for the slight drop.”

“I don’t think the drop in remittance is likely to become a trend in the coming months, even as we get closer to the elections,” he said.

An upsurge in the value of foreign cash inflows, Qureishi notes, has been inspired by mass retrenchments in firms across the country, decreased lending to the private sector by commercial banks and prolonged drought.

“When there are economic challenges, there’s increase in remittance. Kenyans abroad are more likely to send in money to aid their families through these tough economic times,” he adds.

In the past three years, Diaspora remittances have topped as Kenya’s leading source of foreign exchange.

Proceeds from tourism and tea coming in second and third respectively.