How Much Money Does The Rwandan Diaspora Send Home Compared To Other East African Countries?

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This is a question I received from Damien K from Rwanda. The amount of money sent by relatives working overseas to their families back home is enormous. In 2015, the total of personal remittance world-wide was an astonishing US$554 billion. Personal remittances to Africa was US$37 billion.

Remittances to East Africa were as follows:

* Burundi – $48 million
* Kenya – $1.4 billion
* Rwanda – $161 million
* Tanzania – $389 million
* Uganda – $1 billion

The importance of personal remittances becomes clearer when we compare with foreign direct investment (FDI). FDI in East Africa in 2015 was as follows:

* Burundi – $7 million
* Kenya – $1.4 billion
* Rwanda – $323 million
* Tanzania – $1.9 billion
* Uganda – $1 billion

In case of Burundi, personal remittances have by far become the line as there is hardly any foreign investment coming in. For Kenya and Uganda foreign investment and personal remittances are playing equally important roles. In Uganda FDI and personal remittances matched in 2015 at US$1 billion each. Kenya received US$1.5 billion in FDI versus US$1.4 billion in remittances.

In Rwanda, too, while personal remittances are not as high as in Uganda or Kenya, remittances nonetheless play a crucial role – at US$161 million a year.

David Himbara

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