Migration and Financial Transfers: UK-Somalia

Anna Lindley


Migrants’ financial transfers have been estimated to be Somalia’s largest source of revenue. The UK is believed to be a significant source of these financial transfers to Somalia. Drawing on preliminary ethnographic research in the UK during 2004, this paper firstly presents some empirical observations on the dynamics of these movements of people and money between the UK and Somalia and other parts of the Horn of Africa. Secondly, it asks, in contexts of forced migration, what is the relevance of the popular concept of migrants’ financial transfers as part of a “transnational household livelihood strategy”? Notions of household, strategy, and what it means to send money in such contexts are critically reviewed. The analysis concludes with some challenges to common assumptions regarding refugees’ economic actions.

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