With the partnership of Premier Bank, MasterCard has become the first international payments network to enter Somalia. Through the partnership, Premier Bank will issue and accept the first MasterCard-branded payment cards in Somalia which can be used for Premier Bank’s ATM withdrawals. The bank will also issue 5,000 MasterCard debit cards this year, followed by prepaid cards and point-of-sale (POS) machines. Ever since the government and the financial services system collapsed in 1991, Somalia hasn’t had any form of formal banking service.
“Somalia has made significant strides to rebuild the country and instill peace and stability. Today marks a historic milestone, signaling Somalia’s financial liberation following years of being excluded from participating in the global economy,” said Abdirahman Yusuf Ali Aynte, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Somalia.
The government agencies now have a simple and efficient way through which they can disburse salaries. Foreigners, expatriates and international organisations can transfer funds via this new payments network which is secure, traceable and eliminates the risks of transporting cash.
In Somalia’s economy, the growing volumes of remittance contribution are estimated at over US$1 billion annually, or over 35% of GDP.These funds contribute to the country’s development and form an essential source of income for the countrymen.
MasterCard-branded debit cardholders of Premier Bank can withdraw funds globally from any MasterCard-licensed ATM. The MasterCard payments cards can be used for online shopping and for transacting with millions of merchants worldwide who accept these cards.
“We can now provide our customers with a safe, cost-effective, convenient means of transacting, both at home and abroad,” says Mahat Mohamed Ahmed, Managing Director of Premier Bank. “It is our hope that increasing payment card usage in Somalia will encourage merchants and citizens to demand more electronic payments services as they engage with and contribute to the formal economy.”
The alliance of MasterCard payment system with Somalia’s Premier Bank will act as a move towards accepting electronic transactions and moving away from cash transactions. As a result of this significant step, Somalia can open up to the global economy.
“To promote economic growth in Somalia, which has long been isolated from the global economy, there is a need for electronic payment solutions that align with international security and regulation standards,’’ says Daniel Monehin, Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa at MasterCard.
“Our agreement with Premier Bank comes at a time when MasterCard is working closely with governments and financial institutions across Africa to introduce safe and simple financial solutions, achieving our vision of a world beyond cash,” he says.
MasterCard entered Somalia to tap the ever-growing remittances business. This strategic partnership will give MasterCard the first mover’s advantage since it is ahead of its competitor to provide its services to Africa’s most dangerous corners. At the same time, Somalia will benefit from the partnership by slowly attaining financial stability.
MasterCard (NYSE: MA) is a technology company in the global payments industry. It operates the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.
About Premier Bank:
Premier Bank Limited is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Somalia (license no. 0011) to provide banking and financial services. The bank offers comprehensive one-stop financial solutions to customers who include both private and government institutions, corporate and SME businesses, and individuals in Somalia. The bank has two branches in Mogadishu, with plans underway to open more branches in the capital and key towns of Somalia. For more detail visit .