Remittances to Kenya jump to record high in March

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Kenyans abroad sent home $106.2 million in March, the highest monthly amount since the central bank started releasing data on the flows in 2006, and 48 percent up from the same month last year.

Remittances are one of the main sources of foreign exchange for east Africa’s biggest economy alongside tea, horticulture and tourism. The country got a record $891.1 million in remittances for the whole of last year.

The central bank said in a statement on Wednesday that North America accounted for 54 percent of the diaspora inflows in March, maintaining the top position as a source of remittances, followed by Europe with 26 percent, Reuters reports.

Typically, Kenyans living abroad send money home to help their families and for investment in various sectors, including real estate.

In recent years, they have also started investing in specialist government securities targeted at them, such as infrastructure bonds and the Savings Development Bond, the central bank said.

The central bank’s foreign exchange reserves rose to $4.6 billion last week, slightly above the statutory four months import cover, aided by release of funds by the International Monetary Fund to Kenya under a $750 million Extended Credit Facility.