According to Oxfam’s report, Keeping the Life Line Open – Remittances and Markets in Somalia, Somalis abroad use money transfer companies to send home an estimated $1.3 billion annually. These companies have a presence throughout the Somali territories and beyond, and together they provide essential financial services.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Merchants Bank of California, which handles an estimated 60 to 80 percent of the remittances sent to Somali territories from the United States, announced the closure of its business with Somali-American money transfer operators (MTOs). This has created a heated debate amongst Somali communities all over the world because remittances have played a huge role in boosting the Somali economy amidst the turmoil over the past two decades. In a bid to address this matter, Red Sea Cultural Foundation organised a public lecture and debate at the Hargeysa Cultural Centre, under the theme: Breaking the Lifeline: the Crisis Facing Somali Remittances from the US on the night of 12 February. Continue reading