An aid group is unhappy that Secretary of State John Kerry did not discuss Somalia’s remittance crisis when he made a brief, unannounced visit to Mogadishu this week.
• A first: John Kerry’s unannounced visit to Somalia
Scott Paul with the charity Oxfam said Kerry ignored a key concern of many Somali-Americans: The difficulty of sending cash to relatives.
According to Oxfam, international cash transfers from Somali-Americans in Minnesota and elsewhere have slowed considerably. That’s because the California bank that handled most of them quit the business for fear of running afoul of U.S. anti-terrorism financing laws.
• Jan. 2015: Cash transfers to Somalia threatened, again
Paul said that while Kerry can’t solve the problem on his own, he missed an opportunity to address a key concern of Somali-Americans.
“Secretary Kerry talked about a lot of issues that are central in the U.S.-Somalia relationship, but not the single issue that is at the forefront of the minds of most Somalis.”
The State Department said it’s in active discussions with Somali authorities about how the U.S. can help the country build a regulated banking system.