Somalia opens first foreign bank in over 5 decades

Ziraat Katilim Bank of Türkiye has opened a branch in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, becoming the first international bank to operate in the East African country in more than five decades, the Central Bank of Somalia (CBS) announced on Sunday.

The CBS said the operationalization of the first foreign bank in Somalia will boost the financial sector in the country by increasing economic opportunities and trade between the country and its trading partners.

“The new branch of Ziraat Katilim Bank in Somalia is expected to offer a wide range of corporate banking services to businesses, international institutions, and development partners,” the Somali apex bank said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

The CBS in July 2022 granted two operating licenses to two international banks — Ziraat Katilim Bank and Egypt’s Banque Misr — following an extensive application process.

Ziraat Katilim is a state-owned participation bank, a member of the Ziraat Finance Group, which operates in 20 different countries with 15 subsidiaries and 27 branches abroad.

“We are happy to see the operationalization of the Ziraat Katilim branch in Mogadishu. This is a testament to the success of the reforms of Somalia’s financial sector, further enhancing opportunities for investment and development,” CBS Governor Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi said.

Mohamed said the CBS remains committed to fostering inclusive economic growth in Somalia and building a robust and stable financial system. “We anticipate the new bank to add value to the development of Somalia’s financial sector and contribute to the growth of our economy.”

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