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Kenya’s Remittances Fall In April

Kenya’s Remittances Fall In April

Kenya’s biggest source of foreign currency slumped last month, with the central bank indicating that shocks caused by the coronavirus will have a greater impact on the economy for the rest of this year.

Kenyans living outside the country sent home $208 million in April, about 9% less than they did in March, according to data from the central bank. It expects those so-called remittance payments to fall as much as 15% for the whole of this year.

Transfers dried up from nations in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere in Africa. That underscored the dependence many low- and middle-income nations have on remittances. The World Bank estimates those payments may fall 20% to $445 billion this year from a record $554 billion in 2019.

The decline will be sharper for sub-Saharan Africa, where the World Bank estimates payments may fall 23.1% to $37 billion in 2020.

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For Kenya, infows held up from U.S. and Canada, which contributed about 58% of the total. Payments dropped from the U.K., Germany, South Africa, U.A.E., Saudi Arabia and other eastern Africa countries, according to the central bank.

Kenya’s foreign reserves declined to $8.49 billion in week ending May 21 from $8.53 billion a week ago. The authorities see a boost in the reserves on new borrowings including $1 billion that the World Bank approved last week.

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