The end of Somali bank transfers?

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The end of Somali bank transfers?

by Farhan Hassan


Somalia's poor will suffer because of Barclays' decision (Oxfam East Africa under a Creative Commons Licence)

Barclays Bank have decided to close bank accounts held by businesses which run a Somali Money Transfer scheme. This will have a very big effect on the poorest people. The finance sector is broken in Somalia and the state and society are falling apart. Poor people rely on money from other countries. This money is sent through the schemes like the one Barclays is planning to close at the end of September. The loss of this money will affect the survival of many people.

It is very difficult to survive in the world today without money. Food, water, clothing, shelter, medical help, education, employment: these are all important in all of our lives, and for most or all of these, we need money. Money does not make us happy, but it gives us basic support for a healthy life in a safe environment.

So why take away money that people need to survive? Why is Barclays closing accounts that can transfer this money? Are they taking money from the poor to give to the rich?

After the collapse of the banking system in Somalia, the Somali people moved to many different countries around the world. For many years, these people have been very important in supporting Somali lives. When they can, the Somalis give time, knowledge and money to help family and friends in Somalia. They send over $1 billion a year back to Somalia to people who need it the most. About 40 per cent, or more, of Somali households depend upon this money – to pay for school, for food and water, to get medical treatment and meet other basic needs. The Department for International Development, said: ‘in Somalia about three million people (over 40 per cent of the population) live in poverty and 2.4 million now need humanitarian assistance’.

It is clear that when Barclays’ Somali Money Transfer Operators (MTOs) close, the poor and elderly, children and orphans, the sick and disabled will suffer.

It is very important to save and protect millions of vulnerable Somalis from Barclays’ decision. If they close the Somali Money Transfer Operators (MTO) accounts with no clear facts or do not provide an alternative, this is immoral. They are closing the accounts because of fear and panic, not good judgment or good evidence. And it will stop the efforts of the Somali people all over the world, humanitarian aid agencies and the British government to ‘...stop poverty and conflict’.

To help get the much-needed money to the people that need it most, please sign the petition here: and get your colleagues, friends and family to sign as well. The petition now has over 98,000 signatures.

As this article has been simplified, the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed. For the original, please see: