In May 2013 Barclays said it would close the bank accounts of Somali remittance company Dahabshiil and some 250 other money transfer companies as part of a drive to meet stricter money laundering rules. Dahabshiil initially managed to block the move on competition grounds and the case was set to be heard in a U.K. court later this year.
Barclays Bank has provided banking services to Dahabshiil for over fifteen years. Thousands of Somalis fleeing over two decades of violent conflict in their motherland have created what they fondly call Little Mogadishu in Uganda, their host country and 90 per cent of them depend on remittances from relatives in the diaspora for survival.
Little Mogadishu is part of Kisenyi slum in Kampala home to most Somalis, refugees and Ugandans of Somali-origin.
Barclays Bank (Uganda) opened for business in Uganda in 1927 and has up to 44 branches all over the country.
Every year, migrant Somalis send around $1.3 billion back to their home country, according to the charity Oxfam. The Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and a Somali born, British Olympic champion runner, Mo Farah, waded into the debate.