(By Bonny Apunyu)
Fifteen international aid agencies Friday urged Kenya to return Somali linked money transfer firms which were shutdown Wednesday warning that this hit the poorest hardest and jeopardies their operations.
As part of a retaliation on alleged Al-Shabaab supporters following the university massacre of about 147 people by the Islamists last week, Kenya froze key transfer companies vital for Somalia on Wednesday.
But a statement from 15 international aid agencies, including Adeso, CARE, Mercy Corps and Oxfam, reportedly warned that “One out of every three Somali families say that without these remittance flows they would not be able to pay for food, school or basic healthcare.”
“Somali families are losing their only formal, transparent and regulated channel through which to send and receive money ” adding that many aid agencies are based in Kenya, and the closures will hamper their work, they reportedly said.
“Aid agencies working in Somalia also risk losing their only means of transferring money to sustain their daily humanitarian and development operations,” the statement added. “These closures could prove costly, cause inefficiencies, and at worse force some aid agencies to close their operations.”
With no formal banking system in Somalia, diaspora Somalis use money transfer services to send cash back home to support their families, sending some $1.3 billion (1.1 billion euros) each year, dwarfing foreign aid (Source: Agencies)