A rapidly devaluing and heavily counterfeited Somali shilling has forced a large percentage of the people in Beled Weyne to ditch the tattered paper currency for electronic mobile money transfer.
In recent months, Businessmen in Beledweyne town have decided to use U.S. dollar for business transactions via EVCPLUS (an electronic Voucher Card) known as cash mobile wallet.
Thousands of residents took to the streets to protest against the decision by the business community to shift dollar.
Residents now reporting an increase in the use of mobile money which is dominant across the region.
The e-payment transactions have had a devastating effect on poor families who have Somali shilling at home.
“I am a plumber, I have 300,000 Somali shillings but I cannot buy anything with it,” said Mohamed Mursal, a resident in Beledweyn.
Fadumo Abdi, a butcher in Howl-wadaag suburb of Beledweyn said the rejection of Somali shillings affected her business as most of the customers are unable to buy the meat using U.S. currency.
“Most of my customers are poor and are unable to buy the meat,” said Abdi.
Al Shabaab militants in Hiraan region banned the use of Somali shilling, forcing the businessmen and other locals in Alshabaab control areas to refuse the shillings.
The Somali economy has been dollarized in the decades following the collapse of the central government in the early 1990’s.
The U.S. dollar is widely used in Somalia for decades following the collapse Somali central government led by Mohamed Siyad Barre in 1990s.