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New Study of Somali Remittance Flows Does Not Actually Tell Us Much about Somali Remittance Flows

The FAO’s Somalia Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) released an assessment of external remittances to Somalia, based on a survey of both urban and internally-displaced families. The headline result from the report was that apparently remittances were on the decline, but the FSNAU survey doesn’t actually tell us much about how remittance flows to Somalia have changed in the past six months.

If the Cost of Sending Remittances Goes Up and No One Is Around to Measure It, Did It Really Happen?

The World Bank does maintain an impressively large database of remittance prices around the world, called Remittance Prices Worldwide, covering over 200 remittance corridors. It is a massive undertaking which involves surveying hundreds of remittance companies across 32 different countries roughly every quarter, but it turns out that the data only cover approximately half of the world’s remittances, even though the number of corridors covered has been slowly expanding every year. For Somalia specifically, while the database covers remittances from the United Kingdom, it only began surveying US firms this year, after the closure of bank accounts.