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Diaspora wants incentives to raise remittances

By Moses Omusolo | December 6th 2019

Diaspora remittances could hit Sh500 billion annually on increased government support, Kenyans working abroad have said.

Kenyans abroad earn the country its largest foreign exchange. 

According to the Kenya Diaspora Alliance (KDA), citizens living and working abroad have the potential to invest more into the country’s economy yet owing to little or no State support, the remittances are always “short of expectations”.

The sentiments come at a time when diaspora remittances are rising and are now Kenya’s largest source of foreign exchange, clocking Sh215.6 billion in the nine months to September.

On the continent, remittances are estimated at between Sh6 trillion and Sh8 trillion annually.

KDA says the amounts to Kenya could more than double in a short time if the State took Diaspora affairs seriously.

“This is possible because we have a case of 10 million Filipinos abroad who remit over Sh4 trillion a year to their country, yet there are about four million Kenyans in the diaspora who could easily be sending Sh500 billion every year,” said KDA Global Chairman Shem Ochuodho.

He cited inadequate State support as one the factors causing most of the money sent by Kenyans abroad to go down the drain through unplanned spending, with less than 30 per cent spent on meaningful investments.

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