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Africa’s First Cashless Society?

The Somali Central Bank introduced a central payments system in August which connects the nation’s 13 lenders, and formalises digital payments, making payments easier for people across the country. With more than two-thirds of all payments in Somalia made via mobile money platforms, the untapped market for new infrastructure, apps, payment systems, and fintech is huge – at least for those savvy enough to seize the first-mover advantage. In the COVID-era, cash is no longer king, as citizens around the world fast embrace cards, the internet, and apps for financial transactions.

Norway currently ranks the world’s most cashless society, with only 4% of transactions currently conducted offline, according to Norges Bank. Over the past decade, Somalia has been working with international financial institutions, the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and IMF, to implement key economic reforms. The country has passed necessary legal frameworks to create a conducive environment for businesses and to better facilitate foreign and domestic investment into the country. A burgeoning financial sector will create opportunities for Somalis at home and abroad. Somalia is already a world leader in mobile money use, with over 70% of the 13m population using mobile money services.

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