Visa has partnered with the International Bank of Somalia (IBS Bank) to launch Somalia’s first Visa card payment service. This partnership will enable Somalians to enjoy both global and local cashless payment opportunities.
“For Visa to come to Somalia, it means that we are on the right path of growth and progress. We will continue to make partnerships and bring convenient and innovative financial solutions to the people,” said Mahat Mohamed, the CEO of IBS Bank.
Somalia, a country that had no formal banking or financial system since the collapse of its government in 1991, has been making serious headways in reawakening the pulse of its financial entities.
In 2014, 47 years after the Automated Teller Machine was invented and 25 years after it was introduced in Nigeria and Kenya, Salaam Bank installed the first-ever ATM in Somalia in Mogadishu, the capital state. The ATM was to facilitate cash withdrawals (dollars) for only diaspora returnees and foreigners.
Then a year later in June 2015, MasterCard became the first international payment network to enter the Somalia market in partnership with Premier Bank and issued 5,000 debit cards to be used by Premier Bank account holders, for domestic transactions.
“New players are coming on board now. Two years ago, we had about five licensed banks, and today we are talking of 13 licensed commercial banks. That goes to demonstrate the appetite that is there.” Mohamed added.
According to Somalia’s Central Bank Governor, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, the Visa partnership will connect Somalia to the global financial system and show the growing confidence in the country’s banking and finance sector.
The presence of both Mastercard and Visa in Somalia will help position its market as arable land ready to receive seed and produce a bounty harvest.
“We plan to install an electronic verification system that will ease biometric identification of customers opening bank accounts or transacting in Somalia. We believe this will help to build international trust and confidence in transactions originating from Somalia to other financial markets,” Abdullahi said.
With more partnerships like this, popular conversations around Somalia can increasingly focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.