News / Economy

Somali Money Transfer Firm Wins British Reprieve

Workers serve customers at a Dahabshiil money transfer office in
Workers serve customers at a Dahabshiil money transfer office in "Kilometer Five" street of Soobe village, southern Mogadishu, Somalia, May 8, 2013.
VOA News
A British court has prevented Barclays bank from cutting off service to the Somali money transfer company Dahabshiil.

The decision will allow Somalis to continue receiving remittances from abroad. Somalia has no formal banking sector, and the remittances are a key lifeline for thousands of people there.

Barclays had threatened to suspend business with Somali money transfer companies, on concerns the remittances are being used to fund terrorism.

But Britain's High Court issued an injunction Tuesday that will keep Dahabshiil's operations going until at least the end of a full trial sometime next year, should Barclay's decide to appeal the ruling.

The CEO of Dahabshiil, Abdirashid Mohamed Duale, welcomed the ruling.

In an interview with VOA, Duale said millions of Somalis, other African communities and humanitarian aid groups depended on his company's services.

"I was very happy the court decided that our bank account with them cannot be closed. That's good news for our customers, it's good news for humanitarian agencies that depend on our services, and others. Of course, we need a long-term solution, and that's why recently the U.K. government announced that they want to set up some kind of safe corridor, and we're looking forward for the government's permanent solution. But in the meantime, we're very happy that our account will remain open with Barclays bank," he said.

Duale said Dahabshiil challenged Barclay's decision on the grounds that the British bank was creating an unfair competitive situation.

"Barclays bank said they want to get out of the sector. They have decided to close hundreds of money service accounts, but they want to keep certain companies. So that's why we believe by keeping certain companies and not treating them equally it's against the competition, and that's why we on the advice of our legal team, we went to the court and asked the judge that Barclays Bank cannot close our account on the competition ground," he said.

Money transfer is a huge business in Somalia, used by tens of thousands of Somalis to send and receive money from abroad.

The U.N. estimates Somalia receives $1.5 billion each year through remittances sent from overseas, which are helping the country rebuild from decades of civil war. A third of that amount is sent through Dahabshiil.

Barclays had threatened to terminate the accounts twice before, only to back down in the face of protests from humanitarian groups.

Financial experts have warned if Somali wire money transfers are suspended, some of these money systems will go underground. They say this would make money laundering and terror financing easier.

You May Like

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8916
JPY
USD
121.32
GBP
USD
0.6487
CAD
USD
1.3252
INR
USD
66.401

Rates may not be current.