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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs