Diaspora remittances are a lifeline for many in the horn of Africa which is grappling with an economic crisis occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, drought, and locust invasion.

Every year, members of the diaspora community send approximately $1.3 billion (Sh150 billion) to their friends and relatives in the Somali regions, exceeding all humanitarian and development assistance to the country.

A study by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) last year revealed that 67 percent of Somalis receiving money from relatives abroad are unemployed.

One of the key channels that have been used to send remittances back home is through the money transfer companies that emerged in the early nineties when there was a high migration to Europe and America from Somalia occasioned by the civil war.

Dahabshiil, a leading money transfer company in Africa is now urging Somalis in the diaspora to invest back home to help rebuild the nation by sharing innovative ideas which will ultimately create more jobs for the youth and revenue to the government.

At a function to appreciate the diaspora community’s contribution to the region’s economy, Dahabshiil Chief Executive Officer Abdirashid Duale said the impact of the diaspora community in rebuilding the country over the last two decades cannot be underestimated.

“We have seen the Horn of Africa economies grow over the last two decades thanks to the contribution by the diaspora community through remittances,” Duale said at the event dubbed Dahabshiil Diaspora Annual event.

He added: “It is therefore safe to say that going beyond numbers, remittances represent far much more. They play a powerful role in transforming the private, social and economic lives of the people (most notably women) and communities receiving them.”

Dahabshiil, Africa’s leading money transfer company has worked closely with the diaspora community to implement several projects in the Somali regions and in the Horn of Africa.

“We (Dahabshiil) are rolling up new products targeting the diaspora and aimed at financing their projects back home,” Duale said.

“Today, we just want to appreciate the diaspora community and urge them to continue supporting their friends and relatives back home. It is the only way we can improve their lives economically,” stated Duale.

Duale said Dahabshiil understands the dynamics and needs of the diaspora and will continue being the forefront in mobilizing resources from them by providing an easier and smooth means to send their remittance.

The event in Somaliland capital Hargeisa, was attended by business partners and members of the diaspora community.

The Horn of Africa region has investment opportunities in the primary sectors such as livestock development, Smart Agriculture, fishing, mineral resource exploitation. There are also opportunities in ICT Technology, health sector, education, hospitality trade and logistics.

The developments at the Berbera Port which is one of the entry points in the Horn and improvement of road infrastructure have also opened up the region for investment opportunities.