Premier Bank partners with Visa Inc to accelerate electronic payments in Somalia

Somalis will no longer need to carry cash when travelling into and outside the country, thanks to partnership between Premier Bank and global technology company Visa Inc.

The partnership, which the two say is part of a wider strategic arrangement to strengthen formal banking in Somalia will accelerate the growth of electronic payments in Somalia and boost trade.

In a statement Saturday, Premier Bank and Visa Inc said Visa card holders in Somalia will be able to use Premier Bank ATM outlets which number around six in Mogadishu.

Premier Bank Managing Director Mahat Mohamed Ahmed said the partnership will not only enhance electronic payments in Somalia but also promote financial inclusion.

“This partnership is bound to accelerate the growth of electronic payment in Somalia and ensure as many Somalia as possible are brought into the formal system,” said Ahmed.

Visa card holders will now enjoy services such as cash withdrawals and balance enquiries in addition to payments for goods and services from merchants that accept Visa across Somalia.

Formal banking is still significantly low in Somalia with many depending on informal payment and money transfer options popularly referred to as hawalas.

Remittances contribute over $1 billion to Somalia’s economy annually, which is over 35% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.

Visa Inc Southern and East Africa General Manager Jabu Basopo said the introduction of Visa services in Somalia will bolster electronic commerce and help to build sustainable financial institutions.

“We are delighted to partner with Premier Bank as our first client in Somalia. Visa continues to be at the forefront to help build sustainable financial institutions and inclusive systems. We hope this partnership will encourage eletronification of commerce in Somalia,” said Jabu Basopo.

Speaking to the media in Kenya Friday, Ahmed said the bank has also signed an agreement with a local telco to introduce mobile banking in the second quarter of the year. He said Premier bank was the first bank in Somalia to undergo the cashless revolution being witnessed in many other parts of the world.

Premier Bank partnered with MasterCard last year.

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