LONDON, November 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Abdirashid Duale, CEO of Dahabshiil - one of Africa's largest remittance businesses - today discussed the economic future of the Somali territories at an event at London's prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Mr Duale joined senior lecturer and expert on the Somali regions Dr Laura Hammond in discussing the preliminary findings of new research into the diaspora's role in promoting economic development through remittance finance. The research specifically sought to determine differences in levels of remittance dependency between urban and rural communities.
As part of a series of talks organised by the SOAS Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, Mr Duale outlined the essential role remittances continue to play within the Somali territories. The Somali diaspora sends around $1.6 billion back home each year, a stable capital flow that far exceeds what the region receives in aid. This vital income has helped to sustain households and businesses, and has protected them during crises such as the acute food and water shortage which continues to affect some areas.With approximately half of urban families receiving remittances from abroad, the commonly held belief is that these communities enjoy most of the benefits at the expense of poorer, rural groups. The research, conducted by the Food and Agricultural Organisation's Food Security and Nutrition Assessment Unit (FSNAU) for Somalia and co-led by Dr Hammond and Dr Zoltan Tiba of FSNAU, challenges this notion and shows that many rural economies are also closely tied to remittance inflows - either directly or via family connections with those living in the cities. The research did however confirm that approximately forty per cent of all Somali households receive remittance income. Addressing the question of distribution between urban and rural areas, Mr Duale said: