Inflation pushes migrants to ‘side hustles’ to survive, send money home
About half of Kenyans and Africans living abroad are opting for side hustles in order to survive and continue sending money back home due to rising cost of living, WorldRemit, a leading digital remittances company has said.
The survey also found that 82 per cent of remittance senders, including Kenyan migrants who are key remittance senders in the US, Australia, and UK markets, agreed that the cost of living for the people who they send money to has risen since the start of the year. “With several factors contributing to increased financial pressure, new data showed that 72 per cent of respondents in the US, 41 per cent in Australia, and 44 per cent in the UK have taken up a side hustle, with 27 per cent of respondents on average across our three markets indicating they did so to support the increase in their own cost of living,” WorldRemit said.
Remittance inflows remained strong at $345.5 million in November compared to $332.6 million in October, an increase of 3.9 per cent to shore up Kenya’s dwindling foreign exchange reserves. According to the latest Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data, cumulative inflows for the 12 months to November stood at $4.021 billion compared to $3.67 billion in November 2021, an increase of 9.7 per cent.
The cumulative inflows continue to support the current account and the foreign exchange market. The US remains the largest source of remittances into Kenya, accounting for 55.8 per cent in November.
This even as Kenyans in the diaspora sent home Sh37.4 billion in August, a 2.1 per cent decline compared to the Sh38.2billion sent in July, in what represented a fifth straight decline in remittances sent as the cost of living rose severely in developed countries.
According to the report, education, healthcare, and household needs are the main uses of remittances in Kenya. Kenya is among the top three countries in Africa in receiving remittances; Nigeria came first, followed by Zimbabwe.
Highlighting the impact of inflation on people around the world, almost half noted they now only send money to immediate family, rather than friends and distant relatives.