In a recent report by World Bank, Kenyans in diaspora have contributed up to a record Sh163 billion ($1.6 billion) in remittances to their motherland.
The report, Migration and Remittances Fact book 2016, shows that Kenya was among the highest recipient of remittances in 2015. The report indicated that there was an increase in remittance by 16.5% from 2014’s Sh139 ($1.5 billion).
“Migrants are now sending earnings back to their families in developing countries at levels above $441 billion, a figure three times the volume of official aid flows to these countries,” Director, Development Indicators Group, Augusto Lopez-Claros, said as indicated in the report.
Out of the 188 member countries, Nigeria received $20 billion in remittances ranking highest recipient in the world. Ghana came in second with $2billion while Kenya and Senegal held the third position with $1.6 billion each.
The United States on the other hand was the largest remittance source country, estimated $56 billion in outward flows in 2014. Saudi Arabia came in second ($37 billion) followed by Russia ($33 billion).
According to the report, the remittances in some 25 developing countries led to increased investment in different sectors in individual countries.
“Migrants are now sending earnings back to their families in developing countries at levels above US$441 billion, a figure three times the volume of official aid flows. These inflows of cash constitute more than 10 per cent of GDP in some 25 developing countries and lead to increased investments in health, education, and small businesses in various communities,” part of the report read.
According to Dilip Ratha, co-author of the Factbook: “more than three times the size of development aid, international migrants’ remittances provide a lifeline for millions of households in developing countries. In addition, migrants hold more than $500 billion in annual savings. Together, remittances and migrant savings offer a substantial source of financing for development projects that can improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries.”
The new study said that there has been an increase in the number of migrants in the past few years in search of job opportunities. Other reasons listed in the report include internal conflict and war, climate change, natural disasters, and labor shortages resulting from falling birth rates.
In the study, there were more migrants (38%) in 2013 moving from developing countries to other developing countries compared to 34 % that migrated from developing to developed countries.
The study listed the top 10 migrant destination countries as the United States, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Russia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom, France, Canada, Spain and Australia. The top 10 migrant source countries were India, Mexico, Russia, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
According to available official data, the Mexico–United States corridor is the largest migration corridor in the world, accounting for 13 million migrants in 2013. Russia–Ukraine is the second largest corridor, followed by Bangladesh-India, and Ukraine–Russia. For the former Soviet Union corridors, many natives became migrants without moving when new international boundaries were drawn.