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March 4, 2020

Visa to enter Sudan after US sanctions lifted

Visa has partnered with several banks in Sudan to offer its payment services in the country following the end of US sanctions.

Sudan central bank head of electronic banking services (EBS) Omar Amrabi said that Bank of Khartoum, Qatar National Bank and United Capital Bank (Bank Almal) have already secured the green light to utilise the services.

Another six banks have submitted applications for the same, Amrabi noted.

Consumers in Sudan are expected to gain access to the first Visa cards in the country within a month, reported Bloomberg.

However, some minor technical issues are yet to be addressed.

Visa payments will initially be limited to foreign currency transactions, according to Reuters, with the maximum amount limit set at $3,000.

The news agency further said that ATMs will be initially installed at hotels for the purpose of supporting international withdrawals.

“Visa is pleased to be building new partnerships that will bring the benefit of Visa’s world-class payment technology to help support financial inclusion and economic growth in Sudan,” Visa stated.

Sudan’s woes mainly started in 1993, when the US designated the country as a state sponsor of terrorism saying that then-president Omar al-Bashir’s government had links with international terrorist organisations.

As a result, Sudan was subject to various restrictions that were eventually ended in 2017.

Having a presence in the US terrorism blacklist has been preventing foreign players from investing in Sudan.

It has also been barring the country from getting access to International Monetary Fund and World Bank funds.

The latest move by Visa comes following the ouster of al-Bashir in 2019, even though Sudan is still present on the terrorism list.

Visa bars financial firms based in markets with Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions from issuing cards on its network.

These countries include Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Crimea.

 

 

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