Kenyans in the Diaspora Turn to ‘Side Hustles’ to Send Money Home

Nairobi — Kenyans in the diaspora have either cut or reduced the amounts of monies that they send back home, coming at a time when major global economies such as USA, UK, Canada, among others, are battling high inflationary pressures.

About eight in ten (82 percent) agree that the cost of remitting money has increased exponentially since the start of the year.

High cost of sending money has forced a majority of them to reduce the amount of funds that they wire to families in the country.

WorldRemit, a global digital remittance company, says in its new report that almost half (45 percent) now only send money to immediate family rather than friends and distant relatives.

Globally, one in nine people rely on money sent from friends and relatives who have migrated abroad for work.

“The inventive solutions, such as side hustles, that we are seeing as a result of the current economic landscape point to the resilience of migrants and their commitment to financially supporting loved ones overseas,” WorldRemit East Africa Regional Manager Ivan Kanyali said.

“These findings demonstrate the grit of economic migrants in adapting to wider financial stresses and the rising cost of living while still meeting the needs of their families at home, and abroad,” he added.

72 percent of respondents in the US, 41 percent in Australia, and 44 percent in the UK have taken up side hustles (a job in addition to their main source of income) to support the increase in their own cost of living.

Of the respondents who cited having a side hustle, 89 percent reported that they would maintain their side hustle in the next 12 months.

“Households around the world are set to re-examine their spending habits in light of inflation, with more than a quarter of respondents (26 percent) saying that they are curtailing discretionary spending on entertainment such as dining out or going to the cinema or theatre,” It added.

“For example, in the UK (65 percent) of people noted concerns regarding the cost of utility bills, highlighting the change in spending habits of UK households as a result of the energy crisis.”

The WorldRemit study, which interviews 2,687 respondent in the USA, UK and Australia, was conducted in October 2022, to determine the ongoing effects of the increased cost of living on international money senders.

Data from the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) showed that Kenyans sent back home Sh42.4 billion in November 2022.

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