The Somaliland Non-State Actors Forum (SONSAF) held, Wednesday, a forum of discussion on impact of the closure of foreign accounts of Somali money transfer companies in the US and the UK. The workshop attended by representatives from remittance companies and Somaliland women in business investigated areas that the impaired flow of Somali remittance business affected most.
Professor Hassan Heiss, Public Relations manager of Dahabshiil money transfer and SONSAF BOD member, presented a powerpoint charting of the salient milestones in recent history that highlighted what happened, where it happened, the international outcry against the closure of the MSBs accounts, how it affected Somali women and, specifically, women heading households and Somaliland women entrepreneurs. The presentation was titled “Implications of MSBs Closure on Somaliland Women Entrepreneurs”.
Amina Farah Arshe, Somaliland women in business chairperson and Fowzia Mohamed Ismail of Ayaan Enterprises, also, spoke in length of how the US, UK closure of Somali MTOs’ accounts negatively impacted on women compromising their creativity, business acumen and entrepreneurial initiative.
Ambassador Rhoda Elmi, Mohamed Ahmed ‘Bravani”, Mohamed Awale of the Ministry of Commerce, Zahra of Shurako, Ubah of Planning, Su’ad Armiye of Laleys enriched the workshop with their experiences and academic view on how best Somaliland should tackle the temporary hitch the closure imposed on business development.
It was established that SONSAF, on behalf of its vast membership, must add its voice to the growing international indignation against an unfairly targeted industry upon which the livelihoods and future of hundreds of Somali families hinged.
Following the events of September 2011, the United States and the United Kingdom, particularly, became increasingly jittery on money transfer transactions destines for areas in which Al-Qaeda and any of its affiliates operated. ‘Somalia’ with its Al-Shabaab presence was marked as one.
The US banks, the last of which was the Merchants Bank of California took drastic steps to totally weed out the possibility of remittances benefitting the armed Islamists, closing its accounts to Somalis in 2015. Earlier in May 2013, the Barclays Bank of the UK, the last bank to keep business with Somali money transfer businesses.