As well as fuelling economic development, remittances have played an important part in reconciliation across the region. By funding conferences and mediation efforts, the diaspora has made a significant contribution to the peace process and has stayed close to the political life of the territories.
Discussing the potential value of her new research into remittance flows, Dr Hammond said: “This research will help significantly in improving our understanding of what is one of the main drivers of the Somali economy.
“Interaction between diaspora and local communities is imperative to the continued rehabilitation of the Somali region. A greater appreciation of remittance penetration will undoubtedly help to shape policy development.”
Dahabshiil Group is one of Somalia’s largest private sector employers and spans money transfer, banking, telecoms and import/export. As well as providing a lifeline for individuals, families and businesses, Dahabshiil serves over 95% of international organisations operating in the region, and provides strong support to Somali communities at home and abroad through ongoing CSR projects. It serves migrant communities all over the world, and is fully compliant with international regulations.
Dr Laura Hammond is a Senior Lecturer in Development Studies at SOAS and an expert on food security, agrarian development, migration and diaspora investment in the Horn of Africa. Recent academic papers include Cash and Compassion: The Role of the Somali Diaspora in Relief, Development and Peace-building, commissioned by UNDP Somalia and published in January 2011.