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De La Rue Urged to Cancel $9.6 Million Somaliland Contract



The Sahimiye Foundation has called on the world’s biggest printer of banknotes, De La Rue,  to cancel a contentious $9.6 million contract to print 380 billion SL shillings for the Somaliland government. In an open letter to De La Rue, Sahamiye notes that the decision to increase the money supply in Somaliland will worsen the economic pain that low-income and disadvantaged groups of society are currently experiencing.

The Foundation warned that the new banknotes would double the money in circulation and cause the local currency to lose value against the dollar. “The highly unusual decision to print money, especially at a time when the country is preparing for presidential elections, is predicted to cause the value of the SL shilling to drop from 8,750 to over 20,000 per dollar,” wrote Ismail Ahmed, Sahamiye’s founder and director.

Ismail further warned that De La Rue’s Somaliland contract posed serious legal and ethical questions. He noted that there was neither competitive bidding nor approval by parliament before De La Rue was awarded the contract. “I urge you to cancel the contract and return the $9.6 million that the Central Bank of Somaliland sent you to fund the transaction,” he wrote in the letter addressed to De La Rue’s CEO, Clive Vacher.

Ismail challenged Clive to take a principled stand, given that De La Rue had a history of involvement in corruption scandals and was the subject of several investigations by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.

Born and raised in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, Ismail is a UK-based tech entrepreneur and founder of the international money transfer service WorldRemit. He currently serves as the Chairman of WorldRemit. He founded the Sahamiye Foundation in 2021 to promote education and literacy in Somaliland and the Horn of Africa and advocate for policies that foster development. In 2021, he announced that he would commit more than $500 million of his own wealth to the Foundation over a period of 10 years.

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