anti-piracy: piracy as an aspect of banking

Mr rear admiral Peter Hudson CBE, Head of EU Naval Force Somalia (operation «Atalanta») speaking at a Greek shipowner's forum reported on March 28.

"A typical example of the last event of the ship «Maran Centaurus» the owner Mr. John Angelikousi where, to release the ship, paid a ransom of about 7 million U.S. dollars. This amount is considered the largest sum ever paid for the release of the ship.

The war of gangs is so great that when Mr. I. Angelikousi's ship the Greek super tanker «Maran Centaurus». was ransomed, As broadcast by foreign news agencies, there were four deaths among the two groups of pirates killed each other for the ransom,. The clashes erupted 300 km north of Mogadishu, a day after the payment of approximately seven million U.S. dollars for the liberation of the Greek ship. (rough translation from the Greek by Google, with some editing)here

The UNDP estimates that Somalis in the diaspora contribute about $1 billion in remittances annually. These funds are distributed through money-transfer agencies controlled by clan leaders and warlords who tax the remittances. Thus the funds go primarily to family members, but also to finance clan leaders and warlords. Some stakeholders in the region may be invested in the perpetuation of the conflict. It's not only the pirates making a killing. Somalia's service sector also has grown. Telecommunication firms provide wireless services in most major cities and offer the lowest international call rates on the continent. In the absence of a formal banking sector, money transfer/remittance services have sprouted throughout the country, handling roughly $2 billion in remittances annually
Hormuud Telecom, the biggest network in Somalia with more than a million subscribers, says it designed the software for its SAAD money transfer service, but was helped by Safaricom workshops and consultants.

Money transfer firms are another backbone of the economy as remittances from the large Somali diaspora, estimated at around $1 billion a year, keep many Somali families alive.

"This is the lifeline of the whole economy ... and they are the future banks of Somalia," Central Bank Governor Bashir Issa Ali told Reuters.

"Somalia has been saved by the money transfer companies and the telephone companies," he said. "This is a great thing for the payments system." here

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