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In Spite Of Security Hurdles Somalia Recovering Fast

A stable Somalia is good for the Horn of Africa, a successful Somalia is excellent. The country that has been marred in civil wars since the overthrow of the late dictator Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991. Since then, millions were internally displaced or left their country as refugees.

Somalia went through difficult times and became a breeding ground for extremist armed factions, the last of whom ise AlShabab. However, recently, in a propaganda video clip shot in Iraq, another group announced it holds the IS franchise for Somalia.

By 2012, as the central government recaptured most of the Somali territories AlShabab has been on a retreat. For the last three years, Somalia has launched the task of establishing governing institutions, particularly security and a political process was started to stabilize the country. Also in 2012, “the government passed a provisional constitution and reformed Somalia as a federation.”

Since 2012 when Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected as president, The Federal Government of Somalia has been expanding its control over its territories. In spite of sporadic disruption by AlShabab, the capital is being rehabilitated fast and life is returning to normalcy.

The Somali Diaspora population is estimated to number around 1 million people spread from Scandinavia, to Italy, from the Middle East to South Africa, and from Australia to the USA and Canada. Close to 250,000 Somalis have been naturalized or live in the USA and Canada.

The press release that was distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of MasterCard Worldwide of which received a copy indicated that the Somali “Premier Bank will now issue and accept the first MasterCard-branded payment cards in Somalia, a country which hasn’t had any form of formal banking service since the collapse of the government and financial services system in 1991.”

Here is the copy of the statement in full:

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, 3 June 2015 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- At the World Economic Forum on Africa today,MasterCard announced its partnership with Premier Bank, becoming the first international payments network to enter Somalia.

As a result of the partnership, Premier Bank will now issue and accept the first MasterCard-branded payment cards in Somalia, a country which hasn’t had any form of formal banking service since the collapse of the government and financial services system in 1991.

“Somalia has made significant strides to rebuild the country and instil peace and stability. Today marks a historic milestone, signalling Somalia’s financial liberation following years of being excluded from participating in the global economy,” says Abdirahman Yusuf Ali Aynte, the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Somalia.

Premier Bank ATMs can accept cards for cash withdrawal, while the bank will also issue 5,000 MasterCard debit cards this year, followed by prepaid cards, and point of sale (POS) machines.

The introduction of the MasterCard payments network means that government agencies now have an efficient platform through which to transfer salary disbursements. Foreigners, expatriates and international aid organisations sending funds to Somalia can do so via a formal, traceable network that complies with international security standards, eliminating the risks of transferring and transporting cash.

Remittances contribute well over US$1 billion to Somalia’s economy annually, or over 35 percent of GDP, funds that are an essential source of income for individuals and necessary for the development of the country.

“Reassuring foreign investors, Somalis in the diaspora and those distributing aid that our financial systems are secure and properly regulated is critical to Somalia’s economic well-being,” he adds.

Premier Bank’s MasterCard-branded debit cards enable Somalis to withdraw funds from any MasterCard-licensed ATM globally, shop online, and pay for goods and services at millions of merchants that accept MasterCard payment cards around the world.

“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.”

Demonstrating the value of close collaboration in the banking and payments technology industries, this landmark partnership is a significant step towards reducing Somalia’s dependence on cash, increasing financial inclusion and ultimately contributing to the country’s financial stability.

“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, 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 throughout Africa, achieving our vision of a world beyond cash,” he says.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of MasterCard Worldwide.

About MasterCard, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate 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. Follow us on Twitter:@MasterCardMEA and @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the MEA Engagement Bureau.

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 on KM4 Makalmukarama Street and Bakara Market in Mogadishu, with plans underway to open more branches in the capital and key towns of Somalia. For more detail visit:

Media Contacts
Birgit Deibele, MasterCard, 71 464 0983
Mahat Mohammed Ahmed, Premier Bank Limited, +252 61 777 1000; +252 69 777 1000

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  • selam

    Dear guest , yes all of them are Eritreans and they said the sea is better than tigray. You remember how we threat you in the dergi time. We offerd you work, school and even share of our belonging yet the hand of Tigrawot is quite to the opposit.

  • Yoty Topy

    Hi Secular Socialist Republic,
    It is the “variance” that matters most. If you could only afford two meals/day last week and this week you are able to cover for three meals then you are said to be moving ‘in the right direction.’ This is a nation that few years ago did not even have a centralized government let alone financial products. So, the introduction of MasterCard Services is really an important milestone especially in light of the recent news of major US financial institutions deciding to stop remittance services to Somalia.

  • Belay

    Dear AMMAN,
    I can see that you have respect to to the “mighty EPRDF” which I have no problem far as I am concerned, respect to EPRDF is respect to Weyane Tigray too.So still, it is your obsession to Weyen make u a lone moanner at Awate Uni.
    Still I respect but object your comment.
    Look after ur self, look inwards.
    EPRDF yikdem.
    We all moan wat times

  • Matewos

    Mastercard entering the Mogadishu market is seen as recovery?? My goodness. Awate is really losing it since the ‘belly from the beast’ left Eritrea. It is good news though for the Somali parasites living in Europe. They now have another means of transferring their welfare checks to their relatives back home. Did you know that in Belgium and Holland over 50% of Somali’s are on welfare. Most of them are chat chewing, lazy, aggressive lowlifes. Shame on Europe to give these people asylum. Their mentality is what needs recovery in order for their country to recover. Only pfdj supporters in Europe (and especially the US) have a mentality that is even worse. And they don’t even chew khat for it (only chewing pfdj propaganda, which I guess can be seen as being more harmful than chat).

    • biki. bikimeli

      welfare? who are you to judge. Do you work yourself? Do you know how many Eritreans live from welfare in England? You did not even pick a point, you just wrote to tell about welfare. I have one thing to say for you ” ሰብ ዓኽሙ እዩ ዘንብብ፣ try another website”. wedhanka

  • Araya

    Selamat Nitricc; hahaha listen to this guy on 16 minutes mark. The guy says he will be happy to reach Europe because he will get a new LG phone. Lol. you called it long time ago. At least those Africans were not insincere about why they left their country unlike the Eritreans. it is sad Africans are reduced to this.

    • Abel

      Dear Araya,
      “At least those Africans were not insincere about why they left their country unlike the Eritreans. it is sad Africans are reduced to this.”
      Please be reminded that Eritrea is also very much African.

      • selam


        If Eritrea was not African , all these flithy lairs Ethiopians who are in the west claiming Eritreans would have not found their papers to live in Europe. Give us a break from your narrow mind of wryane , we hade enough.

  • Erty

    The commission has to recommend concrete measure on Eritrean leaders. Every time the commission writes a report without recommendation of punitive action on the Regime. I read the article on tesfa news. The host of the web sites said that the report did not mention anything about the border dispute about Ethiopia which he said is the main causes of the problem. The border issues is one problem and the Eritrean regime repressing its people is another. The regime and its supporter are trying to relate the repression with Eritrea’s relation with Ethiopia. They are saying Eritreans are repressed by their government because the Ethiopian government is having a dispute of some sort with Eritrea. This kind of excuse is over used. The Eritrean government can give its people full freedom at the same time can deal with the border issues separately. As the report said fear is the driving force of the Eritrean regime to stay in power. A fear created by the regime all list neighboring countries are evil, the west is against Eritrea an so on. The issue is not all these countries the issues is internal. The government can not come up a solid policy to create jobs for the youth therefor has to create an artificial problem based on conflict so that people can be recruited to the military to stay as military personal than civilians. based on the recent public speech of the president the president is not going to change its policy soon . On the 24Eritra independence day speech the president blamed the West for Eritrea’s problem. it means Eritrea is going to follow the same policy as before rater than changing it. The leaders of the regime should be tried in court for crime against humanity, as this crime has been the findings of the commission. If that is done the opposition and the diaspora community should be empowered to step to avoid a power vacuum if the leaders in Eritrea are going to be tried in court. The opposition should structure itself by setting up itself to take power if there is a regime change in Eritrea. Unless the opposition and the diaspora community shows the West they are ready to lead , the West, like EU and USA are not going to encourage a regime change because they don’t want to create another Libya in the horn of Africa where valance and instability has become the trade mark of the block. If the Eritrean government is to be blamed for Eritrean people repression, the opposition has to be blamed for the same repression in Eritrea for not being a strong alternative force that is ready to be in charge of when the time calls for it.

  • Abel

    Disturbing images and scary future?
    The two links below shows the voyage to Italy and the damning report of the UN on the human right situation of Eritrea.

  • said
    • Semere Andom

      Thanks Said:
      Let see how those who boast about their kobor junkie addcitions say about the same body, which reported the successful anti-malaria campaing say about it saying this.
      It is distraction to stop the successful of mosquito killing campaing

  • sara

    Dear all
    This is a good information about somalia, it shows the ingenuity and magnanimity of our somali relatives, no amount of sanctions could thwart a somali individual or group. they do have this special flare that somehow is related to us eritreans
    can you imagine with all the trouble the country is in, they run factories,communications and airlines even though it is owned by individuals.
    thank you awate for bring this to the forum.

  • AOsman


    This one looks like an advertisement, nothing wrong with that.

    If you know some Somali, it is fascinating to hear that they have made leaps in the use of electronic currency. In Mogadishu and elsewhere they make payments using simple mobile phones that are credited and then the credits are transferred during business transaction, this is widely used by small business and individuals.

    Of recent there was a problem with major banks (at least in UK – Barclays and other clearing banks – I think we have 4 players and if you are rejected by them, others cannot do business with you) threatening to close down Dahabshiil account and other similar money transfer companies. It is was a deja-vu moment, the last famous transfer company of the 90s Barakat was taken out of business by US freezing its asset post 9-11, not to recover afterward. Following the notice for closure, there was a campaign in UK to buy some time to re-arrange as the notice gave them little to maneuver, I did not follow it up but the UK government may have helped as it affected the livelihood of millions who rely on remittance. The main reason that these banks wanted to close the accounts is after the penalties amounting in billions they had to pay for dealing with Iran or giving service to any organization that may be used to transfer money to terrorist organization. Somali money transfer companies are automatically considered high risk business because of the Shabab/Sanction issue and the major banks have no stomach to take such a risk.

    At least Dehabshiil is now established as a bank in Djubuti, was expanding its services throughout Somalia. It is likely that it will struggle in future as it dealt with major NGOs and major part of the remittance cash transfers.

    It would good to hear how these local companies see the introduction of Premier Bank/Master Card to the market.