(Updates with bank’s comment in the third paragraph.)
July 8 (Bloomberg) -- The Central Bank of Kenya said it plans to target the country’s diaspora for the first time in a sale of 36 billion shillings ($399.6 million) of infrastructure bonds in the year through June 2012.
The East African nation seeks to raise $600 million from the sale of the securities to Kenyans living abroad this fiscal year, Samson Burgei, head of communications at the Nairobi-based bank, said in an e-mailed statement today.
Once the infrastructure bond sale is completed, “lucrative bonds such as the 30-year savings development bond and other long-tenured bonds will also be rolled out to the diaspora,” Burgei said, according to the statement.
Remittances to the East African nation in the five months through May rose 35 percent to $334.7 million compared with a year earlier, the central bank said on June 28. Kenyans living abroad send home about $1.9 billion every year, almost triple the amount previously estimated, according to a report by Bendixen and Amandi, a market research company, commissioned by the World Bank and released on Oct. 19.
The government’s calculation may be lower because remittances sent via informal channels are difficult to track and therefore under-counted, and reporting standards for banks and money transfer operators are weak, Edward al-Hussainy, a financial sector specialist with the World Bank, said.
The central bank is looking for ways to enable Kenyans living overseas to invest in longer-dated securities as the country tries to reach its target to borrow 119.5 billion shillings ($1.3 billion) from the domestic market in 2011-12, the statement said.
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