The remittance wing of Dahabshiil has become a byword of trust, efficiency, and speed of delivery through a rigorous application of state-of-art digital technology, practicable solutions and visionary strategy.
A leading international money transfer company and a global player in over 120 countries, Dahabshiil has an unparallel presence in East Africa and remains the biggest African remittance provider. Founded in 1970 as a small business, Dahabshiil has grown over the past 47 years into a multi-million dollar financial powerhouse with diversified business sectors including Banking, remittances, and telecommunications sector etc.
Equally serving both individual customers and international organizations such as the United Nations, Oxfam, Save the children, and the American Refugee Committee, Dahabshiil has become a trusted partner with International organizations on projects that empower the communities and their businesses, creating jobs and reducing poverty.
Talking to Africa Leads about the company’s phenomenal rise, Mr. Abdirashid Duale, CEO of Dahabshiil, attributes Dahabshiil’s capacity to building excellent customer relationships and providing reliable and trustworthy services to people as the company’s competitive edge.
“We are all about accountability, reliability, and integrity created by customer loyalty. In each outlet of Dahabshiil, we hold our employees and agents to high ethical standards, and that is what gives us a competitive edge.”
Focusing on underserved communities, Dahabshiil was the first in the private sector to introduce a Micro-finance initiative in the Somali region: “Our Micro-Finance Initiative Micro-Dahab has issued products and loans to thousands of women and youth in the region,” Mr. Duale says.
Supporting start-ups in less advantaged communities is another successful Dahabshiil initiative: “We have also worked with other partners and sponsored business pitch competitions ‘Minbar’ where potential startups in less advantaged communities are connected to global networks of investors, incubators and accelerators, mentors, entrepreneurship programs and others who want to help. We have done this is in East Africa in particular Uganda and in Minneapolis in the US. There are plans to replicate these in other cities in Africa, Europe and the US.” Mr. Duale says.
Unshakable Trust and Fast Service
Dahabshiil has become the first choice for African immigrant population who send money back home: “African countries are experiencing growth and the cost of living is rising along. This has expanded the business opportunities available for investors and development in the region. A large number of African diaspora are also present in the west including in America, Europe, and the Middle East.
“These immigrants have one tradition in common— to help people who they left behind in their home countries,” Mr. Duale says, underlining that “Dahabshiil developed a trustworthy network that allows people in the diaspora to help their families, friends and relatives back home.
Money is sensitive, and people like to keep it in safe hands. From the beginning, Dahabshiil strengthened its consumer care system by providing fast, reliable, and efficient services.” He went to say: “We continue to consistently meet compliance of regulatory and anti-money laundering requirements within the countries in which we operate.”
“The number of transactions going through our outlets continues to increase in certain regions and as a result, we have hired a substantial number of employees. Increased transactions and an increased workforce are the results of our excellent service and reputation for customer satisfaction.”
On the company’s future plans, Mr. Duale explains that there is always room for improvement and expansion: “Africa consists of 57 countries with an estimated population of 1.2 billion people. The majority of the people of this continent are hardworking and are always seeking opportunities to better their lives,” he says.
“A substantial population also depends on remittances from their relatives in the diaspora as well as on the aid provided by the international humanitarian organizations. Dahabshiil recognises this zeal and determination of the African people and our goal is to not only provide services to this growing population but also to contribute towards the improvement of their livelihood through community projects.
“Dahabshiil’s plan for 2018 is, therefore, to reach many more individuals and corporations by opening new outlets globally and to partner with the international community and corporations to create more jobs and reduce poverty.”
“The banking relationship between the UAE and many African countries is still being established and it is Dahabshiil outlets that enable African business people to transfer their funds to buy products and services in the UAE. Therefore, I am confident to say that Dahabshiil is one of the bridges that connects African traders to UAE markets.”
Strong African Market and Technology
On future prospects of the African market, Mr. Duale notes that Dahabshiil is gearing up for a strong market in Africa and continues to increase its outlets across the continent: “In the Somali region, we have already launched eDahab, mobile money transfer system that allows our customers to move money with ease. Very soon, we plan to expand further in the region. In short, we are committed to serving the African communities,” he says.
On regulations, he adds: “African money transfer companies should enhance collaboration between themselves and with the regulators. They should also put into consideration the customers’ needs and good customer service. Innovation should also be put at the core of our businesses so that we can continue to offer efficient services while keeping abreast of technological development.”
Describing technology and innovation as Dahabshiil’s mainstay, Mr. Duale says: “In today’s world, technology has become a powerful tool that companies use to deliver their services and products as well as to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of business operations.”
“In Dahabshiil, we have a long tradition of using technology such as using an online system and mobile network that allows transactions to be sent in seconds. This system is supported by highly-secure, efficient, advanced technology that offers our customers to collect their funds in minutes.
“We also engage with our customers on our social media platforms. We built an effective system that helps our customers, either individual or corporate accounts, to send funds in minutes while blocking criminals out. This system provides for security and for the protection of the integrity of our financial organization,” he said.
A Leader in Community Development
Apart from providing its services to both individual customers and international organizations, Dahabshiil is also a partner with International organizations on projects that empower the communities in supporting businesses, creating jobs and poverty reduction.
“We have had a long-standing tradition of contributing to the communities in which we operate. We dedicate a substantial amount of our profit to humanitarian and community regeneration projects,” Mr. Duale says, adding that it is through these initiatives that the company provides funds to projects such as hospitals, schools and community facilities.
“We have recently worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to transfer funds into individual beneficiaries’ mobile phones using Dahabshiil’s mobile payment platform eDahab. This was conducted live during the ‘Goalkeepers event’ which was attended by President
Obama, Prime Minister Trudeau among other dignitaries.”
On relief efforts, Dahabshiil plays a crucial role in helping vulnerable communities: “When drought hit many Somali regions in 2016, Dahabshiil donated nearly two million dollars to support internally displaced people and refugees, while contributing to relief efforts spearheaded by other international organizations such as the Emirates Red Crescent. We also waived all commissions on funds sent to alleviate the drought effects,” Mr. Duale says.
According to Mr. Duale. the company’s other outreach projects include the support of vulnerable communities, particularly those affected by the civil conflict in the East African region: “I can confidently say that Dahabshiil has played a crucial role in improving the living conditions of many communities in the East Africa where many people experience hardship,” he underlines.
Connecting African Businesses to UAE Markets
On the trade prospects between Africa and the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), Mr. Duale explains that there is historic trade between the two regions, particularly the UAE, noting that the geographical proximity of the two regions is one reason for the strong
trade partnership that dates back centuries.
According to him, such strong trade has influenced the regions to share not only common business interests but also the development of a reliable infrastructure. “For instance, DP World recently launched an infrastructure development project that includes the Port of Berbera in Somaliland. Expectations are that the improvement of the port and the highways that lead to the port will increase the movement of merchandise from the Horn of African to the UAE (or vice versa) by 50%.”
He, however, cautions that although the trade between the two regions has improved, there are many things that still need to be done. “Dahabshiil, the largest African money transfer company, has already put in place a system that will allow traders to transfer funds in seconds and purchase goods they need while continuing to meet regulators’ expectations.”
He adds: “The banking relationship between the UAE and many African countries is still being established and it is Dahabshiil outlets that enable African business people to transfer their funds to buy products and services in the UAE. Therefore, I am confident to say that Dahabshiil is one of the bridges that connects African traders to UAE markets.”
He notes that because of the significant presence of African business in the UAE, it is in the interest of both to focus on their trade and investment opportunities: “The United Arab Emirates is a major hub for commerce and business in this part of the world, I believe there are now thousands of African companies present in the country. Any measure that simplifies business travel between Africa and the UAE and makes it easy to carry out transactions will contribute towards business growth and the opportunities.”
On Africa’s participation in Dubai Expo 2020, Mr. Duale expresses his belief that many international companies including Dahabshiil will participate in this important milestone event. “This event will no doubt increase the level of trade, business transactions, partnerships and opportunities. We look forward to interacting with these like-minded companies during the Dubai Expo 2020,” he says.