However you describe them, the Diaspora are a key cog in our economy

29th Sep, 2017

Let’s face it folks, we are all culprits of bragging over and over again about our various kin who are based in different parts of the world. Even if your cousin’s mother’s sister in law had only crossed the Busia Border to buy handbag merchandise for one day, it still counts, I kid you not.

Whether they reside along the Namanga border, in a small town in Massachusetts or an island in the Pacific Ocean they all fall under the general category of Diaspora. Yep, that includes my peeps in Rongai too. (eeeish, you guys can actually see Mount Kilimanjaro from your bedroom window)

Nevertheless, living in diaspora despite the challenges our counterparts experience to maintain the “lifestyle abroad” is still considered one thousand times better than residing in the mother-land. (Or so we think?)

The fact remains that Kenyans have powerful cultural ties that they never seem to give up. We love our families and extended families such that even while working in other parts of the world, we always keep an eye on what is happening back home.

The basic narrative that we all seem to be convinced of is that people living in Diaspora have to be rich, and while this may not be entirely rich, one thing we are sure of is that the Diaspora community is comprised of hardworking Kenyans who are committed to seeing development in their individual communities.

This narrative was confirmed in a monthly data report that was released by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) showed that diaspora remittances reached $154.88 million (Sh15.48billion) in June, a growth of 6.16 per cent compared to $146.66 million (Sh14.66 billion) the same month last year.

I don’t know about you, but it feels really good to know that when our folk are abroad they are working towards a better future back at home and these numbers show exactly that. Further Research has found that increasing remittances leads to reduced poverty, enhanced human and economic development since it provides income for households, education, health care, housing, small businesses and farming. Recipients of these remittances tend to put more money into these sectors than those who do not receive any.

It is however also important to remember that financial technological advances have made remittance transactions faster, cheaper and more convenient, making it possible to reach even the “last mile” of many remote areas. These advancements can be attributed to the valuable insights mined from our customers that have informed our Diaspora Banking solutions package at KCB Bank.

According to the 2017 African Economic Outlook recently released by the African Development Bank, Africa is expected to witness a rebound in GDP growth in 2017 as global commodity prices recover. Indeed, the realization has now hit that diaspora remittances can have transformative effects on their livelihoods and communities, with well-invested funds stimulating employment and income generating opportunities.


Niko Waks

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