Kenya plans to send over 150,000 labor migrants abroad in 2021, a government official said on Friday.
Simon Chelugui, cabinet secretary of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection said that the bulk of the migrants will be sent to the Middle East with the rest destined for Asia and Europe and North America.
Export of labor is a key priority for the government because it is an important source of foreign exchange earnings. Kenya’s Diaspora remittances reached 312 billion shillings (about 2.8 billion U.S. dollars) in 2020, becoming the country’s biggest foreign exchange source.
Chelugui revealed that revenues from laborers abroad are expected to compensate for the declining tourism revenues due to the international travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chelugui added that Kenya is currently ranked fourth in Diaspora remittances in Africa behind Egypt, Nigeria and Ghana.
“Our aim is to become among the top three countries in Africa in Diaspora remittances in the next few years by seeking new export markets for our citizens,” he added.
He revealed that more people enter the labor force annually beyond the capacity of the economy to generate jobs leading to high unemployment levels.
According to the ministry of labor, the Kenyan labor force is in high demand across the world because it is highly skilled and is fluent in the English language. Enditem