The Kenya Citizenship and Immigration (Amendment) Bill which was proposed in 2020 is set to promote and incentivize investments for Kenya’s living abroad. According to a local report, the final bill would encourage policies to ensure that Kenyans in diaspora get special incentives, including wealth protection, when they invest in the country. The bill will also Kenyans abroad to form associations and voluntarily contribute to a saving scheme back in Kenya.
The report also includes a clause from the bill stating that the Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary “may in consultations with the Cabinet Secretary for Treasury and the governor of Central Bank, develop policies and programmes offering incentives to Kenyans living abroad to invest in Kenya.” In the long run, the motion plans to generate more foreign earnings for the East African economy.
Diaspora remittance has gradually earned a spot as a significate revenue generator for the sputtering Kenyan economy. Remittances steadily increased at an average annual rate of 15.8 percent in the past decade, contributing 3.0 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) when it rose from $934 million in 2011 to an estimated $2.7 billion in 2018.
Recently, data from Kenya’s Central Bank (CBK) revealed that diaspora remittances hit Sh329.41 billion ($3.094 billion) in 2020 despite the impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. But although the virus crippled its foreign earnings from tourism and exports due to a global lockdown, Kenya earned a minimum of Sh6.33 billion weekly in diaspora remittance last year.
In total, the country experienced a growth of 10.7 percent in diaspora remittance from the Sh285.23 billion ($2.796 billion) it made in 2019. This is as a result of the significant increase in the use of financial technologies transactions for online banking. These smart innovations helped Kenyan’s abroad to send money home conveniently.