This week, the International Bank of Somalia (IBS) introduced a first into Somalia’s financial services: a Visa card.
The international card will not only offer Somalis a quick and convenient access to money, but it is proof that despite prolonged conflict, the country’s financial sector has remained resilient.
Visa’s collaboration with IBS Bank will enable cashless payments in the country for both international and domestic transactions.
IBS Bank CEO Mahat Mohamed Ahmed said: “For Visa to come to Somalia, it means that we are on the right path of growth and progress. We’ll continue to make partnerships, and bring convenient and innovative financial solutions to the people.”
The Somali financial sector has grown rapidly in recent years thanks to a vibrant mobile-money market.
According to a 2018 World Bank report, while 70% of the adult population used mobile-money services, just 15% had a bank account.
Today, Somalia has 13 banking institutions under the supervision of the central bank.
The previous collapse of the formal banking systems paved the way for mobile-money services. In a country plagued with insecurity, mobile money has proven to be both safe and secure.
The country was outside the international financial system for 30 years.
It has started normalising its partnerships with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, among other global financial institutions.