Description: Informal money transfer services offer a resilient source of income for some 40 percent of Somali households that lack other meaningful sources of income, let alone access to basic financial services. With $1.0–1.5 billion being remitted from the diaspora each year, remittances serve as a vital lifeline to Somali communities. Yet growing concern over terrorist and criminal exploitation of poorly regulated remittance flows—as demonstrated by Barclays decision to discontinue the accounts of money transfer companies by the end of September 2013—threatens to place the livelihoods of millions of already vulnerable Somalis in jeopardy. Capitalizing on Trust explores the complex economic, social, and political impacts of Somali remittances and offers ideas for improving their regulation, including combating money laundering and countering terrorism financing, and harnessing the power of remittances to help rebuild Somalia.

“The people of Somalia have suffered from the ravages of war for over two decades. It is a community whose survival instincts are exemplary to us all. This report ‘Capitalizing on Trust’ addresses the core activities that have enabled innocent Somali people to survive the suffering brought about by war. It will go a long way in enabling policymakers in the East African region and the global community to engage constructively with Somali diaspora communities to help rebuild Somalia.”

Eliawony J. Kisanga
Executive Secretary, Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group

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