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Somalia’s strong mobile-money market faces new competition from Visa

By Mohamed Sheikh Nor
Posted on Friday, 9 July 2021 20:05

Staff from the Somalian bank IBS at the launch of Visa card services in Mogadishu on 7nJuly 2021. Photo: Mohamed Sheikh Nor.

The International Bank of Somalia (IBS) introduced on 7 July 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.

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.