Visa arrives in Somalia

Visa has arrived in Somalia - an event marked with a ribbon cutting by the country's Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble.

The U.S. financial services firm has teamed up with International Bank of Somalia, or IBS, to launch the country's first Visa card payment service.

Representatives from both institutions say the International Bank of Somalia Visa card will be a launchpad for both domestic and international cashless transactions.

IBS chief executive Mahamat Mohamed Ahmed was at the launch.

"There are a lot of new players 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 in this space."

In the years following the collapse of Somalia's government in 1991, the country's financial sector was dominated by unregulated and informal money transfer companies.

But more recently Somalia's formal banking sector has been experiencing strong growth.

The country's first ATM was set up in 2014 - around the same time that another U.S. name, Mastercard, entered the market.

After three decades, the Horn of Africa country is also back in the good books of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international financial institutions.

The IBS Visa card is being promoted as a safer alternative to handling cash during the global health crisis.

IBS and Visa also said customers would now ben able to connect with around 61 million traders, in over 200 countries.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting