Visa has partnered with the International Bank of Somalia (IBS Bank) to launch the country’s first Visa card payment service.
The two firms said in a joint statement issued in Mogadishu on Thursday that the partnership opens up Somalia to the cashless payment services for international and local transactions.
“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,” IBS Bank CEO Mahat Mohamed Ahmed said.
Through the partnership, IBS Bank will now deliver Visa card services to bank clients in Somalia, which boosts confidence in the Somali financial and banking sector.
Somalia’s formal banking sector has witnessed a resurgent growth in terms of customer base and innovative products in recent years.
In October 2014, the country’s first-ever Automated Teller Machine was installed by Salaam Bank to facilitate cash withdrawals for diaspora returnees and foreigners.
Soon after, Mastercard introduced its services in Somalia with IBS and Premier Banks.
“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,” Mahat said.
Somalia has in recent years normalized its relations with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international financial institutions after 30 years outside the international financial system.
Somalia’s Central Bank Governor, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi said the launch of Visa financial cards links Somalia to the global financial system and signals growing confidence in the country’s banking and finance sector.
“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,” Abdirahman said.
Eva Ngigi-Sarwari, Visa Country Manager for Kenya, Somalia and Eritrea said Visa cards offer safe alternatives to physical handling of cash amidst an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.