Sunday, January 22, 2012

US panel to discuss restoring flow of remittances to Somalia


Minnesota Pubic Radio

Community leaders and activists will meet Sunday at the University of Minnesota to discuss ways to restore the flow of remittances to Somalia.


The panel discussion at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs will revolve around the millions of people displaced by famine last year in Somalia in a continuing crisis. Last month, Somali money-wiring businesses said they could no longer find American banks to facilitate transactions to Somalia.

Jaylani Hussein of the American Relief Agency for the Horn of Africa just returned from Somalia, and says it's important for non-governmental organizations like his to find a way to restore a flow of remittances to the country.

"We're people who are interested in finding solutions with the skill sets that we have as well as also the resources that we get from our donors and supporters," he said. "So, you know, this event is about the people here in Minnesota coming together and saying these are some suggestions that we have."

He said he hopes the panel finds a solution to the remittances crisis that doesn't depend on action from the US government, in case that doesn't come soon.

"People over there in Somalia are divided into two categories," he said. "The poorest of the poor are those who don't have anybody sending money to them. Then there's a group that receives funding from their relatives, loved ones across the developed world. So cutting that off and having that not being able to be available for them, you're pretty much creating another humanitarian crisis.". 

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