70% of Somalia’s population lives on less than $1.90 a day, making it one of the poorest countries in the world. This is mainly because the country has been in a civil war for decades. There are 15 million people in Somalia, but only around six commercial banks, a few offering hawala services. Hawala is an over-the-counter money transfer that allows money from foreign banks to reach residents in Somalia. The Government of Somalia aims to enhance its financial sector development and boost its economy.
The new president Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, elected six weeks ago, stated that he is committed to improving the country’s economic stats and providing the population with essential services. Due to this, the government granted bank licenses to two foreign institutions, the Egyptian bank Banque Misr and the Turkish bank Ziraat Katilim.
Banque Misr is the first fully Egyptian-owned bank to establish significant investment funds and receive several international awards. The bank was founded in 1920 by Mohamed Talaat Harb Pasha, an economist and financial expert. It was the first bank in Egypt and North Africa to adopt the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The bank has one of the largest ATM networks, with over 800 electronically integrated local branches all over Egypt.
Ziraat Katilim is a Turkish state-owned participation bank established in 2015 and a member of the Ziraat Finance Group. It offers products and services such as cash & non-cash loans, current accounts, money management, safe boxes, corporate financing support, debit cards, residential financing, and investment services. It received several awards and prizes internationally.