Dahabshiil CEO Urges International Business Community to Help Victims of East Africa Famine

By Africa Business, PRNE
Sunday, August 14, 2011

LONDON, August 15, 2011 -

Dahabshiil, the largest international payments Company in Africa, has donated an initial US$100,000 to drought victims in the Horn of Africa, but its CEO, Abdirashid Duale, says more is needed from the international community and corporate world.

Since the UN declared famine in Somalia on 20 July, more than 13 million people have been affected by drought and famine, sparking a huge global fundraising campaign.

Dahabshiil’s recent donation of US$100,000 is one of the largest provided from a list of corporates, which includes British Airways, National Bank of Kuwait and Eli Lilly & Company, but this is not enough says Abdirashid Duale.

“Our initial $100,000 donation is just the beginning; more funds will follow from both Dahabshiil and its employees. The Chairman made a declaration in Hargeisa to our global staff, emphasising our commitment to the cause and that we will do all we can to help these people in need.

“We have already had a good response from aid agencies, religious leaders, the general public and all Somalis, but it is the business community that can make a real difference now. We as kith and kin Somalis, with the same culture and the same religion, urge the international business community to dig deep and provide the final push the people of East Africa need, especially during this holy month of Ramadan.”

Dahabshiil is arguably one of the most important multinational businesses in Africa, helping to transfer remittances and provide a vital source of income for African communities and businesses. For the Somali Diaspora alone Dahabshiil remits a large proportion of an estimated $1.6 billion sent every year.

While remittances account for its core business, Dahabshiil also provides money transfer and banking services to local businesses as well as assisting the management and distribution of funds for humanitarian and development organisations that work with communities affected by conflict, drought and famine. In fact, over 95% of international organisations operating in Somalia, including the UN, World Health Organisation, World Bank, Oxfam, Save the Children and Care International rely on Dahabshiil to make payments.

The United Nations has previously described Dahabshiil services as ‘the only safe and efficient option to transfer funds to projects’.

Abdirashid Duale added: “Remittances are an essential lifeline for many communities across East Africa which depend on Dahabshiil to receive income from abroad and to facilitate much-needed private investment. The flow of remittances into the region has played a crucial role in the growth of the telecoms, transport and housing sectors, as well as in improving basic infrastructure, healthcare and education.”

Dahabshiil has a 40-year history of supporting Somali-speaking communities around the world and invests $1 million every year in community regeneration projects and charitable efforts across the 144 countries in which it operates.

Founded in 1970 as a general trading enterprise, Dahabshiil is the ‘rags to riches’ story of an African entrepreneur, partnered with his son, who had to start from scratch after the Somali civil war. With limited resources and a strong network of contacts they set about rebuilding their company, which two decades later is now one of the largest international money transfer businesses in the Horn of Africa, providing access to funding for communities in some of the most remote locations in Africa.

Despite its international success Dahabshiil has remained committed to a policy of low commissions, charging fees significantly lower than other international providers and enabling migrants to send funds regularly and cost-effectively, regardless of their whereabouts or the size of the sums transferred.

Contacts: media at africabusiness.com, +44(0)20-7713-7296.

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