Cutting off the Somali Lifeline, a heated debate in Somaliland

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

Youth making a difference in Wabaado village


Whenever one visits the Daroor District on the border of Ethiopia and Somaliland, you cannot help but admire the zeal and determination portrayed by the youth of Wabaado village.

During our visit, we met Ugbad Abdi Dirie, a twenty one year old phenomenal girl who has been brought up in a pastoralist family that keeps camels and sheep.  This young spirit is such an inspiration to her people and has always demonstrated leadership in her village to the extent she ended up being selected to represent them during a training on animal health. “I have always felt capable and comfortable to represent my people and they always look up to me as their daughter and sister that can speak on their behalf,” says Ugbad. Continue reading