News / Africa

Somali Wire Money Transfers Ready to Meet Barclays Demands

Customers wait outside a retail branch of Barclays Bank to open in London in this February 12, 2013, file photo.Customers wait outside a retail branch of Barclays Bank to open in London in this February 12, 2013, file photo.
x
Customers wait outside a retail branch of Barclays Bank to open in London in this February 12, 2013, file photo.
Customers wait outside a retail branch of Barclays Bank to open in London in this February 12, 2013, file photo.
— British bank Barclays says on September 30 it will suspend business with money wire transfer services operating in Somalia.  The bank says it fears the transfer services are being used to fund terrorism.  But humanitarian aid groups in the country have called on Barclays to postpone its plan to allow time to find a replacement of the service, on which many Somalis rely.

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

But British bank Barclays said it would terminate the accounts of wire transfer companies operating in Somalia on September 30, out of concern that some of the money could be diverted to fund terrorist activities.

Barclays has threatened to terminate the accounts twice before, only to back down in the face of protests.

Somalis walk outside of the Dahabshil Bank in Mogadishu, Somalia, June 25, 2013.Somalis walk outside of the Dahabshil Bank in Mogadishu, Somalia, June 25, 2013.
x
Somalis walk outside of the Dahabshil Bank in Mogadishu, Somalia, June 25, 2013.
Somalis walk outside of the Dahabshil Bank in Mogadishu, Somalia, June 25, 2013.
In an interview with VOA, Abdirashid Duale, the head of Dahabshiil, one of Somalia's biggest money transfer services, said his company is ready to work with international financial institutions to find short- and long-term solutions to the fears and concerns expressed by banks and western governments.

 “You know any criteria they want us to meet or the UK [British] government want us to meet, we are happy to do it," said Dualae. "But this kind of decision will affect, it has a humanitarian aspect to it, it will affect the reconstruction of the country and it will affect in my opinion security and stability, because if there is no economical system in the country, how will you get the stability?”

The United Nations 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.

Aid organizations are calling for an alternative to a shutdown, as many of the non-governmental organizations working in Somalia, as well as the United Nations, rely on money transfers through companies like the Dahabshiil to pay local staff.

Duale notes the way they operate these days has changed, and says the company is strict with the people they deal with.

“When my father established the company 40 years ago and today is completely different because the world changed since 9/11," said Dualae. "This applies to all entire financial institutions, we ask for your ID, we check your names if it is true or not.  In certain countries where there is infrastructure in place, if you give me your passport I can check if it is true (genuine) or not.  There are so many infrastructure that we use behind the scene that we do not share with others.”

Financial experts have warned if Somali wire money transfers are suspended, some of these money systems will go underground, and that would not be in the interest of institutions trying to fight money laundering and terrorism financing.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid