The country, struggling to recover from decades of civil war and a long political crisis, is plagued by severe drought and jihadist attacks.
Somalia announced on Sunday, July 3, that it had granted banking licenses to two foreign institutions, opening the country to international investment for the first time in decades.
The Egyptian bank Banque Misr and the Turkish bank Ziraat Katilim thus become the first foreign banks to be allowed to operate in Somalia, the Somali Central Bank said in a statement. “The review of the applications of these two banks was the subject of a lengthy process lasting several months,” the institution said, adding that they had the green light to establish and operate branches.
“These are two strong banks that will add value to the development of Somalia’s financial sector and contribute to the growth of our economy,” said the governor of the Central Bank of Somalia, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, quoted in the statement.
One of the world’s poorest countries, with more than 70 percent of its population living on less than $1.90 a day, Somalia is struggling to recover from decades of civil war. The country of 15 million people has at least half a dozen commercial banks, some of which offer services through hawala, an informal network of over-the-counter money transfers.