Overzealous Western banks pose new threat to war-ravaged Somalia

Al Jazeera, 7 August 2013, Mohamed Ali

Columbus, Ohio - Every month I visit a small grocery store in a non-descript building in Columbus, Ohio, where I live, to use a service that keeps Somalia alive: "Hawala", the traditional money transfer system used throughout the Middle-East, Africa and South Asia. 
 
Similar to Western Union, Hawalas present a way to easily transfer money from one country to another, using a wide network of agents and central clearinghouses that make such transfers quick, cheap and reliable.
 
Like many other members of the Somali diaspora, I use Hawalas to transfer badly-needed funds to friends and family at home. But the system is threatened by a new wariness among international banks used to clear the cash, which could sever an essential financial lifeline to Somalia just as it emerges from decades of civil war.
 
Click here to read the full article