By: Yumoha Pasha
Somalilandsun – Members of the Inter governmental authority on Development-IGAD have for the first time acknowledged the vital role played by remittances in filling crucial gaps in economy recovery, especially in post conflict when there are not enough sources of income to provide for the population
This consensus follows an IGAD sponsored meeting bringing together various stakeholders from member countries and held in the sidelines of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development held in Addis Ababa Ethiopian from 13th to 16th July 2015.
The conferees of the IGAD meet who were part of the wider conference participants that included high-level political representatives, including Heads of State and Government, and Ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, as well as all relevant institutional stakeholders, non-governmental organizations and business sector also concurred on the imperatives of safe guarding safe and legal transfer of remittances in order to avoid inadvertently undermining this crucial financial lifeline”
According to the Dahabshil Company CEO Abdirashid Duale who participated in the IGAD meeting in which finance ministers from the Horn/East Africa region and finance sector and other international partners chaired by IGAD Secretary General Mahbood Maalin further acknowledge the importance of legally transferred remittances from Diaspora in various countries to recipients in the region “Reaching individuals and communities where aid often doesn’t, and provides an insurance mechanism to subsidize unemployment during the crucial post-conflict period”
Speaking to VOA Somali service Mr. Abdirashid M Said Duale, the CEO of the Dahabshil, the largest money remittance company in Africa reiterated on the important role remittance companies play said, “Every year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants from East African region walk into small money transfer organizations in more than 150 countries around the world in order to send money to relatives in their homelands. Their funds prop up local and regional economies, keep families fed, and help preserve stability around the region.
“During the conference, Finance Ministers from the region have for the first time reached a consensus on the vital role played by the funding sent by their respective countries diasporas in fillings crucial gaps in economy recovery, reaching individuals and communities that aid often doesn’t, and provides an insurance mechanism to subsidize unemployment during the crucial post-conflict period when there are not enough sources of income to provide for the population”, Mr. Abdirashid M Duale stated.
Mr. Abdirashid M Duale further added, “Among the outcome of this conference is the establishment of a forum which will bring together representatives of western countries which the Diaspora usually send money from and the recipient countries (East African) to oversee the nonstop flow of money to those who depend on it and in compliance with the required regulations set by this countries.
“It was also agreed that those living in the Diaspora should send money through banks and money transfer organizations such as Dahabshil and not through the black market in order to avoid inadvertently undermining this crucial financial lifeline”, he said.
Lastly Mr. Abdirashid M Duale said, “Dahabshil welcomes any new regulations which will permit remittances to remain open and functioning and has in the past voluntarily complied with all existing regulations.
While the Third International Conference on Financing for Development with its high level representation culminated with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, a groundbreaking agreement, that provides a foundation for implementing the global sustainable development agenda of the millennium development goals, for the Dahabshil CEO it was another opportunity to Network with Heads of State and other senior government officials, business executives and other high-level stakeholders.
For in the recent past that follows issues related to transfer of money from the Diaspora to recipient households and more Somaliland and Somalia after Barclays international bank decided not to handle money service businesses-MSB accounts Mr. Abdirashid Duale has lobbied various world leaders plus participation in numerous.
The Barclays decision that saw over 15 Somali owned MSBs among them Dahabshil which operates in over 150 countries the strenuous campaign by Mr. Duale ensued with a UK court grant the money transfer company an interim injunction to prevent Barclays Bank from terminating the banking services it provides to Dahabshil.
“This is not just a victory for Dahabshil. It is a victory for the millions of Somalis and other Africans, many of whose livelihoods depend on our services. For Dahabshiil’s customers the injunction means that they can continue to use Dahabshil for the foreseeable future” state the CEO after the interim injunction of 05 November 2013.
The Dahabshil CEO was a honoured guest at the Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2014 which took place last night at Grosvenor House, London during the institution’s 25th anniversary celebration in which Muslim talent the contribution of the Muslim community to British Society were recognized.
In 2013, Dahabshil was honoured to be the recipient of the Excellence for Enterprise award for its vital role in fostering social development and increasing financial stability in developing countries through remittance finance.
As a prelude to putting final touches to issues related to money laundering, the Barclays bank justification for MSB accounts cessation the Dahabshil CEO had in April 2013 entered a partnership agreement with One of the World’s Leading Security Software Corporations.
In 2014 the Dahabshil Company thanked the UK government for its ongoing commitment to find a solution which enables a safe and transparent remittance corridor to remain open with the Horn Region.
The thanks were extended by Dahabshil CEO Abdirashid Duale during a personal Tete ‘a’ Tete with the British Prime Minister David Cameroon on 1st April 2014 at the at Grosvenor House, London where the two were attending a Muslim News Awards Ceremony
In the same month of April the Dahabshil CEO met and held discussions on Remittances with World Bank and US officials in North America.
“My impression was that everyone was sympathetic to the issue and that they were trying to find a solution to the current challenges though allot needs to be done to realize a lasting, meaningful solution to the lingering threat of funds transfer from Diaspora to recipient countries”
This was stated by the Dahabshil CEO Mr. Abdirashid Duale after meetings on Somali remittances with various officials in Washington among them from, the World Bank, the USA Treasury Department, members of the House of Representatives and White House.
But the major scoop for the from rags to riches family business was the announcement of 22 June 2015 in which The Central Bank of Kenya lifted the suspension on Dahabshil Kenya (http://www.dahabshiil.co.ke), with immediate effect. Dahabshil operations had been suspended together with numerous others by the government of Kenya on 7th April 2016 as it tried to counter attacks by Al-shabaab.
“We are pleased to announce that our services have resumed fully” Said Abdirashid Duale adding that the decision comes after the authorities had carried out a comprehensive review of Dahabshil Kenya’s operations, policies and practices thence satisfaction that the company complies fully with the law, and operates strict anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing practices.
As the Dahabshil CEO Abdirashid Duale continues to walk the red carpet and network with multi-sectored global stakeholders so does the image of the unrecognized republic of Somaliland accrue indents internationally for Dahabshil is Synonymous with Somaliland
Listen to VOA interview in Addis Ababa