The Sahimiye Foundation issued a formal plea to De La Rue, the world’s foremost banknote printer, urging them to reconsider their contentious $9.6 million contract to produce 380 billion SL shillings for the government of Somaliland.
In an open letter directed to De La Rue, the Sahimiye Foundation expresses deep concern over the decision to increase the money supply in Somaliland, asserting that it will exacerbate the economic hardships faced by low-income and marginalized segments of society.
The Foundation has sounded the alarm, cautioning that the introduction of these new banknotes will effectively double the currency in circulation, leading to a devaluation of the local currency against the US dollar. Ismail Ahmed, the Founder and Director of Sahamiye, articulated this concern, predicting that this unconventional move to print currency, particularly amidst the preparations for presidential elections, could result in the value of the SL shilling plummeting from 8,750 to well over 20,000 per dollar.
Ismail Ahmed further underscored the substantial legal and ethical questions posed by De La Rue’s contract in Somaliland. He highlighted the absence of a competitive bidding process and the lack of parliamentary approval prior to De La Rue being awarded the contract. In his letter addressed to Clive Vacher, the CEO of De La Rue, Ismail made a direct appeal for the contract’s cancellation and the return of the $9.6 million that the Central Bank of Somaliland had sent to fund the transaction.
Ismail issued a challenge to Clive, urging him to take a principled stance, particularly in light of De La Rue’s history of involvement in corruption scandals and its scrutiny by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.
Ismail Ahmed, hailing from Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, is a UK-based tech entrepreneur and the founder of the international money transfer service WorldRemit. Currently serving as the Chairman of WorldRemit, Ismail established the Sahamiye Foundation in 2021 with the aim of advancing education and literacy in Somaliland and the Horn of Africa, as well as advocating for policies that promote development. In 2021, he publicly pledged to contribute more than $500 million of his personal wealth to the Foundation over the course of a decade.