Telesom’s ZAAD service is purportedly dictating remittance platforms and it has blocked international transfers to its own platform.

According to a statement by the WordRemit founder and chairman Ismail Ahmed, this move followed the expansion of Hormuud Goup’s subsidiary PaySii which competes with these companies and sends money from Europe and North America.

The two largest telecom providers in Somaliland and Somalia, respectively, are Telesom and Hormuud Telecom. They both provide voice, SMS, data, and mobile money among other services. Telesom has its headquarters in Hargeisa, Somaliland, and is owned by a group of investors from Somaliland and Somalia. In the field of mobile money, Telesom is regarded as a market leader. One of the first mobile banking services in the world, its ZAAD mobile banking service was introduced in 2009.


Cash, which can be in the form of coins or bills. It is a crucial part of the economy and the monetary system. It is the most widely accepted form of payment for goods and services. Cash can also be used to save wealth for later use, making it a valuable asset. In spite of inflation, it actually stays an appealing choice for individuals who prefer a tangible and secure way of storing their money.

However, cash’s place in the financial system is changing as a result of the proliferation of digital wallets and payment platforms worldwide and the rising popularity of credit and debit cards. Some nations are even contemplating completely eliminating cash. Somaliland felt compelled to do the same.

Since ZAAD is a type of financial product that lets people in Somaliland use it as a debit card to buy things or pay bills, it has changed how people shop. Additionally, it had a significant impact on the country’s cash circulation. ZAAD has reduced the amount of cash carried by customers and the use of cash for daily transactions as a result of the absence of neighborhood branch banking and its widespread adoption in Somaliland.

ZAAD has turned into a fundamental financial service that the lives of the Somaliland people and economic activities and dealings in the country immensely rely upon. Telesom decision makers in general and ZAAD management in particular must always keep this reality in mind.

The statement that the founder of WorldRemit made about the conflict between Telesom’s ZAAD service and mobile money transfer platforms is the basis for the title of this article. It was posted on his Facebook page and on Twitter.

The Telesom company, the Somaliland central bank, the Ministry of Finance, and the Somaliland Presidential Palace have all not spoken about the dispute and have not provided a written statement as of yet.

ZAAD Purportedly Dictating Remittance Platforms
Ismail Ahmed, former CEO and current Chairman of WorldRemit

WorldRemit and the other mobile money transfer customers had been under the impression that the platforms were experiencing software issues prior to this statement.

With respect to WorldRemit keeping in the loop its customers and the wider Somaliland public by breaking such news demonstrates its obligation to customer service.

The entrepreneur who founded the WorldRemit platform is regarded by the Somaliland public as a philanthropist with a strong reputation and respect in the country’s society. He was involved in numerous charitable endeavors in Somaliland, including the Daariz platform and the Sahamiye Foundation. He generously contributed to the rebuilding of the open-air Waaheen market that was destroyed by fire and to the country’s ongoing drought over the past few years.

Given the public’s substantial trust in him, he would neither jeopardize that respect by sharing unfounded accusations about Telesom labeling it as demanding unethical business practices nor twist the dispute in a way that is different from how things are actually.

“This week ZAAD service has suspended or stopped working with all money transfer companies that facilitate and engage in dispatching remittances from abroad. WorldRemit is one of the services that is impacted. Thousands of households all around Somaliland are unable to collect their monthly living expense stipends from their relatives overseas as a result of this limitation. The Central Bank of Somaliland, which understands the significance of remittances to the nation’s economy, requested Telesom to make the ZAAD platform accessible for mobile money transfer companies, and after that to hold talks with them. The order issued by the bank has not yet been carried out, and services are still unavailable.” He wrote in the Facebook post.

In his Facebook post, he continued, stating, “A problem similar to this has already happened to Transfer Galaxy – one of the leading online money transfer companies – which rejected the unethical request that came from Telesom demanding that the company increase the fees it charges its customers.”

ZAAD Purportedly Dictating Remittance PlatformsZAAD Purportedly Dictating Remittance PlatformsIn a Facebook post, Ismail stated that “the controversy between the online platforms for international money transfer and services like ZAAD, EVC Plus, and eSahal started when Hormuud Group created its own – PAYSIIi.” This is something that Ismail holds very dear. It is planned that “PaySii” to assume control over the whole market of Somali diaspora settlement by utilizing ZAAD Administration which has an imposing business model in this market in Somaliland.

In the Facebook post, Ismail further added that “the controversy between the online platforms for international money transfer and services like ZAAD, EVC Plus, and eSahal started when Hormuud Group created its own – PAYSIIi.” This is something that Ismail holds very dear. It is planned that “PaySii” to assume control over the whole market of Somali diaspora settlement by utilizing ZAAD services which has an absolute monopoly in this market in Somaliland.

Customers in the United States confirmed that WorldRemit’s fees have been reduced to three percent of the remittance. In addition, they confirmed that, as of Saturday, June 3, there was no ZAAD option available on the WorldRemit platform; the only option they had was cash pickup at a Juba Express location. Fortunately, the ZAAD option was reinstated and WorldRemit customers in the United States were able to utilize the platform on Sunday.

We were able to obtain the image of a WorldRemit email that was sent to a customer to confirm the payment of his money transfer through ZAAD services. We were informed by the aforementioned customer that his family received the funds which was deposited into their ZAAD account.

ZAAD Purportedly Dictating Remittance PlatformsIt is not yet clear whether this is an isolated transaction that fell through the cracks or whether ZAAD service has lifted the blockade of remittance platforms.

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