By Mohammed Waseem
Africa has given the world few money transfer services which have operations in most major countries. Among those companies in Bakaal, a Somali money transfer company headquartered in the UAE. Most of the shareholders in the company are Somali nationals living in Somalia and abroad.
Bakaal has operations in 30 countries across the world. So senders can send money to these countries to be received in local currency or in US dollars or directly into bank accounts in some countries or even delivered to the recipient’s home or business. The primary customers of the company are the Somali diaspora around the world and the migrants from the Horn of Africa living abroad. It is estimated that more than 2.5 million Somalis have migrated to other parts of Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australasia, which suggests the potential in Somalia. The company also facilitates the trade payments the Somali businesses exchange with overseas companies.
They have agents and offices across the 30 countries that facilitate the transactions. They don’t have online money transfer service, so if anyone wants to use their service they will have to walk in to any of their offices or agent locations.
In order to send money, a sender has to locate a Bakaal agent or office and walk in to it along with a personal identification document. After this, a simple ‘send’ form has to be filled and hand over the form, the money intended for transfer and the transfer fee to the agent. Once the transaction has been processed, a reference number is generated, which has to be communicated with the recipient. Recipients can collect the money after 10 minutes from the completion of the transaction. Sender can also choose to have the money deposited into the recipient’s bank account or delivered to their home or business.
Bakaal is a start-up money transfer service which has a long way to go in order to develop. Their website has very less information about the service, countries of operation and most importantly information about the company. Their website is poorly maintained and lacks important information which would make the customers look for alternatives because customers seek transparency and as much information as possible.