Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon sent a letter to Barclays Bank Chief Executive Officer Antony Jenkins Monday (September 23rd) asking him to reconsider the bank's decision to close money transfer accounts in Somalia on September 30th.
"[The decision] will directly affect millions of entirely innocent Somalis for whom remittances from overseas are absolutely vital," Shirdon said. "This is how they feed their families, clothe their children and treat their illnesses. This is what keeps them alive. If the accounts closure goes ahead, Barclays will be condemning millions of Somalis to terrible poverty."
Shirdon warned that in addition to compromising the livelihoods of many Somalis, the decision also "directly undermines British policy towards Somalia".
"Apart from the enormous damage it will cause our country, it will also affect Britain's reputation and interests as a valued partner," he said.
Shirdon said the Somali government understands Barclays' concerns about combating illegal activity, money-laundering and terrorism, but "closing these money transfer accounts will make no difference to such activity".
"Indeed, rather than countering terrorist activity, the move will merely play into the hands of groups like al-Shabaab by damaging Somali economic activity and forcing unemployed youth into their arms," Shirdon said. "The tragedy in Nairobi's Westgate mall is terrible evidence of this."
Shirdon asked Barclays to meet with representatives from the money transfer agencies in order to come to a mutually agreeable solution.