Visa has partnered with the International Bank of Somalia (IBS Bank) to launch a financial card payment service in the country.

This is the first Visa-branded card payment service in Somalia.

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.”

Eva Ngigi-Sarwari, Visa country manager for Kenya, Somalia and Eritrea said the new cards can be a secure alternative to physical cash during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Ngigi added: “The Visa card also offers access to a global market, giving access to over 61 million merchant locations in over 200 countries.”

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IBS Bank will offer Visa card services to its clients in Somalia, where global banking and financial services are emerging.

In October 2014, Salaam Bank deployed the first Automated Teller Machine in the country. The service enables cash withdrawals for diaspora returnees and visitors.

Mastercard subsequently launched its services in alliance with IBS and Premier Banks.

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.

Mahat noted: “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.”

This Visa cards launch will connect the country with the global financial system.

Last month, Nigerian fintech company Carbon partnered with Visa to enable payments across Africa.