A recent survey by the World Bank puts Kenya as the second-highest recipient of inward remittance in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), contributing 5.7 percent to the country's GDP. The Gulf Cooperation Countries are becoming a favored destination for migrants, including those from SSA. The existing literature does not adequately examine the impact of remittance, and of migration, on migrants and their families. To our knowledge, this is the first exploratory survey of migrants from Kenya in the Gulf region.

This research attempts to track migration and remittance trends between Qatar and Kenya that would enable policy-makers and researchers to monitor the impact of remittance on the local economy. It also serves as a valuable introduction that enhances our understanding of the challenges faced by migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Original data from 52 male migrants were collected between June and December 2010. The survey covered the following issues: health, demographics, education, income, expenditure and remittance.

The median Kenyan migrant has the following profile: male, 29 years of age, single, possesses some degree of college education, has been in Qatar for 1.4 years, works 9 hours a day, 6 days a week, earning US$ 3945 per year of which over half is remitted back home to his parents. The migrant has limited savings, rendering him unsatisfied. Most of the migrants surveyed intended to use their saving for further education or start a business enterprise. They also expressed concerns about a mismatch between the skill sets they had and the jobs obtained in Qatar.

This study raises pertinent questions that require a deeper analysis: Is it possible to match the migrants with jobs that they have trained for to reduce underemployment? How can migrants improve their savings? Our findings suggest that remittance and savings amongst Kenyan migrants help in capital accumulation and could contribute to the economic development in Kenya. Hence, there is a need for policy makers to work with Kenyan migrants, to enable them to achieve their financial goals.


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