CEO of Dahabshiil Gives Keynote Speech on Global Money Transfer and Telecoms Industries at the University of Oxford

By Africa Business, PRNE
Thursday, June 30, 2011

OXFORD, England, July 1, 2011 -


Abdirashid Duale, CEO of Dahabshiil, one of Africa’s largest
money transfer companies, gave the keynote address at a conference
hosted by Oxford University from 29-30 June. 

The two day event, the first of its kind to focus on important
issues facing the Somali diaspora community, explored in particular
how developments in media and communications shape the way the
diaspora engages with and influences the population at home
politically, economically and culturally.

Other speakers at the event included academics from both within
and outside Oxford University, along with journalists from the BBC,
Al Jazeera, VOA and other media institutions including several
prominent Somali outlets.

Dahabshiil has a 40-year history of serving communities around
the world. Its current core business is in the transfer of
remittances to East Africa, a vital flow of income to many in the
region. Its expanding network of agent and payout locations
stretches to some of area’s most remote locations, extending an
essential lifeline to the inhabitants and helping to sustain
isolated local economies.

In his keynote address, Mr Duale discussed the rapidly
developing regional telecoms industry, and in particular how
Dahabshiil’s money transfer operations are becoming increasingly
interlinked with the company’s growing involvement in the latest
wireless technology, working closely with strategic partners.

He went on to discuss Dahabshiil’s recent acquisition of a
majority stake in SomTel, a fast-growing, leading Somali telecoms
and mobile internet firm with expertise in advanced wireless
technology and high speed broadband.

The Somali region’s telecoms industry, as Mr Duale explained, is
one of the most competitive in the world, having undergone rapid
expansion since the early 1990s. He remembers a time when there
were no private telecoms companies in Somalia, just a state-owned
network. Back then, high frequency radio was still the preferred
method of communication - cheap, simple, and mobile. In some of the
more remote regions, Dahabshiil even used HF radio for its
operations; as he put it, ‘HF was, for us, the mobile of the

There are currently up to thirty private telecoms companies
providing voice and data services across the Somali-speaking
regions. Demand is strong and price increases are limited by stiff
competition. Consumers also stand to benefit from the
fast-approaching interconnection of telecoms operators, as well as
the imminent installation of a fibre-optic marine cable that will
enable high speed internet.

Telecoms services are becoming ever more widely available and
the costs of international calls are among the lowest in the world.
Mr Duale believes that with such affordable mobile networks in
place and a growing number of companies - including SomTel -
offering the latest GMS technology, the infrastructure is in place
for a rapid expansion of Dahabshiil’s mobile banking and ‘eCash’
debit card services across the region and beyond. The benefits of
such a development in the money transfer industry will be

The efficiency of these new services is something with which
Dahabshiil’s customers are already familiar; remittance transfers
in and out of Africa take minutes to clear regardless of where in
the world money is sent or received. Customers have access to a
web-based transaction tracking facility, and an SMS notification is
sent to the recipient as soon as the funds are available.

Closing his speech, Mr Duale returned to the issue of migrant
communities. “Dahabshiil”, he said, “is a migrant-run business that
understands the needs of diaspora communities, and helps to
strengthen their links wherever they are in the world.”

In an interview for the Financial Times published last month, Mr
Duale spoke about the importance of that understanding to the
success of his business:

“Without knowing your people as your customers and your staff,
and them trusting you, you cannot be in business. I knew Somalis, I
knew how to serve them, so it was not some sophisticated customer I
had to find,” he said.

The UN estimates total annual remittance flows into Africa to be
around $22 billion, having risen from $9 billion in 1990.
Remittance flows within the continent, particularly to rural areas,
have also increased as a result of rising mobility. Many East
African countries rely on remittances to sustain economic
development, and the integration of mobile telecoms with money
transfer services will eliminate many of the regional challenges
currently faced by the latter and greatly improve access to finance
in some of Africa’s poorest communities.

Notes for Editors

Dahabshiil is an international funds transfer company, and the
largest of the Somali money transfer operators. The firm has its
headquarters in Dubai and operates from over 400 branches globally,
with a major centre of operations in London.

Dahabshiil provides a broad range of financial services and
invests in state-of-the-art technologies in order to offer both SMS
notification and 24 hour online transfers to its customer base. The
company also employs technology to assure security and to satisfy
international protocols and procedures aimed at combating money
laundering, terrorism, and other illegal usage.

Contact: info at

will not be displayed