THE IMPORTANCE OF REMITTANCES TO KENYA
Remittances are a vital part of Kenya's economy, they are currently worth more than the combined value of tea and coffee exports. Economies all over the world being impacted by the response measures to Covid-19 and many people have or will lose their ability to earn, this could have a dramatic impact on the value being remitted by the diaspora in the coming months.
KEY INSIGHTS FROM APRIL DATA
The overall value of remittances in April was 90% of the average monthly value remitted since January 2019. It is possible that this reflect the employment status of the diaspora in North America and Europe and the % that are considered Essential Workers.
In 2018 and 2019 remittances increased sharply between January and June, the current trend for this year however appears to be heading down and even if the current level of remittance is maintained it would lead to a significant annual shortfall.
A RESILIENT DIASPORA
However, early signs from the April data indicate that remittance payments have been more resilient than may have been expected, especially those coming from North America. Research from 2015 shows that the profile of Kenyans living and working in the US are highly employed (93% of those in the labour force were employed), 62% are either professionals or work in managerial positions, 27% of the workforce are working as registered nurses or nursing aides. Whilst we will need to wait for more data from May and June, this profile paints a picture of skilled, essential workers who are likely to be in high demand during this pandemic and could provide an essential lifeline to their support networks