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Drug dealer sized stacks of Somaliland shillings. The largest note is 500 (pictured here). $1 is approximately 6000 shillings. In Hargeisa, hundreds of money exchangers display massive piles of local currency unguarded in open air. One of them shows me a plastic bag. “It’s my safety box!” he says laughing, proud of the city’s level of security. These money brokers are connected to an international informal transfer network known as “hawala” that facilitates an estimated $1.5 billion in annual remittances from the diaspora, close to 50% of Somalia’s GDP.

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Taken on November 18, 2011