Dahabshiil is the ‘rags to riches’ story of an African entrepreneur whose business was interrupted after the Somali civil war. With limited resources and a strong network of contacts he set about rebuilding the company, which two decades later is now the largest international money transfer businesses in the Horn of Africa.
In 2010, Dahabshiil celebrated 40 years in the business. With Abdirashid Duale as CEO, and founder Mr Mohamed Duale as Chairman, Dahabshiil remains a family business. Today, Dahabshiil employs 5,000 people across 126 countries with offices in London, Hargeisa, Mogadishu and Dubai. It provides services to some of the world’s leading humanitarian organisations, including the United Nations, Oxfam, Save the Children and Care International.
Dahabshiil is arguably one of the most important multinational businesses in Africa – providing a vital money transfer lifeline to those living in many countries across Africa and beyond.
- Dahabshiil was founded by Mr Mohamed Saeed Duale in 1970. He started trading as a remittance broker, selling imported goods from Gulf States on behalf of migrant workers and transferring the proceeds back to their families.
- In 1970, Dahabshiil opened its first shop in Burao, the capital city of the Togdheer province in North-West Somalia (now known as Somaliland).
- Over the next 18 years, Mr Duale Mohamed, with the support of his staff expanded the business to become the leading remittance broker in the Horn of Africa.
- In 1988, the business collapsed as civil war broke out across Somalia, forcing half a million Somalis to seek refuge all over the world.
- With limited resources, Mr Duale used his experience and strong network of business associates to set up a new remittance venture, enabling Somali refugees to send goods back to displaced family members.
- Coinciding with an influx of Somali immigrants to the UK, the family set up an office in London.
- As the UK’s Somali population grew, so did Dahabshiil.
- In 2009, Dahabshiil made banking history and launched the first ever debit card in Somaliland.
- In 2010, Dahabshiil opened an Islamic bank in Djibouti.
- Forty years on and Dahabshiil’s original values still ring true: trust and responsibility. The business has zero debt, remains entirely family-owned and is committed to its fair commission fee policy.
- Dahabshiil continues to support the Somali community both in Africa and abroad, investing 10% of its profits into community regeneration projects involving the development of schools, hospitals, agriculture and sanitation.