Diaspora remittances reach US$1.4 billion in 2021

By Kenias Chivuzhe

ZIMBABWE’S diaspora remittances have jumped from about US$$1 billion in 2020 to US$1.4 billion in 2021 as the country reaches a record high foreign currency inflow of US$9.7 billion during the same period.

This was revealed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Deputy Governor, Dr Kupukile Mlambo, during an exporter’s breakfast meeting held in Mutare this Friday.

“For the first time in over 10 years, our foreign currency earnings totaled US$9.7 billion in 2021 up from US$6.3 billion in 2020. So we had 53 percent increase in our foreign currency inflows. Out of the 9.7 billion, 6.2 billion came from exports had 1.4 billion from remittances in 2021. This is amazing because we would expect that because of Covid remittances will be low, but we hit record inflows. The question is that if our foreign currency inflows are around 10 billion, why we are having foreign currency problems in Zimbabwe.

“It’s clearly an allocation problem, but not by RBZ. It is how these monies move from those who have surplus to those who have deficit. That’s one of the challenges we face as a country and we need to work around from a policy perspective. A lot of exporters have foreign currency but a lot of net importers don’t have foreign currency,” he explained.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister, Ambassador Fredrick Shava urged Zimtrade and ZIDA to assist those in the diaspora to also invest back home.

“I was also encouraged very much by the announcement by the deputy reserve bank governor that from the diaspora remittances we had 1.4 billion sent into our country. I think this is commendable. I know that those in diaspora are sending money to their families but I am also aware that they also are looking for investment opportunities in Zimbabwe. I hope that as we progress, we might be able to find opportunities for the diaspora community to invest in their country. This will be a great deed of patriotism by them. I implore Zimtrade and ZIDA to assist the diaspora population who want to establish business in Zimbabwe.”

Meanwhile the central bank says there is need for more attention to be channeled towards enhancing the local and foreign interbank markets to function properly in order for the people to access foreign currency.