The Kenyan diaspora is the biggest sender of digital remittances to mobile accounts, according to a new report by WorldRemit, a global online money transfer service provider.
The report indicates that transfers to mobile money accounts make up 93 per cent of WorldRemit transactions to Kenya presently, a development that shows that Kenyans continue to be early adopters of innovative technology, even when abroad.
Mobile money has played a key role in the growth of WorldRemit’s Kenyan customer base, attracted by the low price, speed and convenience of sending instant remittances from the app or website directly to a mobile phone in Kenya.
Around three million Kenyans live abroad, with large communities in North America, Europe and Australia.
Remittances play an important role in Kenya’s economy – inward remittances reached a record value of just under $161 million in November 2016, according to the Central Bank of Kenya, making it one of the nation’s top earners.
The data was released as part of activities to mark the 10th anniversary of Kenya’s leading mobile money service provider, M-PESA,
Ismail Ahmed, the founder and CEO at WorldRemit, said: “Kenya is famed for leading Africa’s digital transformation, and today it’s Kenyans abroad who are at the forefront of digitising international money transfers.
“With half a billion registered accounts worldwide, mobile money continues to transform lives by allowing people to access financial services for the first time. WorldRemit customers now send more than 65,000 transfers to the country every month from the WorldRemit app and website with over 90 per cent going to M-PESA”.
In January, WorldRemit customers transferred $140 million (at annualised rate) to Kenya, making WorldRemit one of the largest remittance companies serving the Kenyan diaspora.
Top remittance-sending countries are the UK, Australia, the US, Germany, Canada and Nordic countries.