Somaliland: Foot-stepping Mobile Money Service


Somalilandsun – Somaliland’s first mobile money platform was launched in 2009. Called Zaad—meaning ‘to grow’ or ‘to prosper’ in Arabic—it was started by the popular mobile phone company, Telesom.

According to a study by Gianluca Iazzolino Zaad’s mobile money transfer service has since become a feature of a financial landscape hitherto dominated by Somali remittance companies. Today, Zaad has a profound impact on the way people in Somaliland save and transfer money, so much so that industry organizations such as the Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association (GSMA)—a global association of mobile telephone operators—view it both as an example of best practice in financial inclusion, and of the transformative potential of mobile money.

The study that uses qualitative studies to examine the way Zaad is reshaping livelihoods and looks at the implications of its popu­larity for the relationship between state and non-state actors and its effect on Somaliland’s institutional framework can be read here titled “Following Mobile Money in Somaliland”