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KCB and CBA take first steps to enter Somalia

By JOAN WAIRIMU @joannjoki
Monday, May 30, 2016

Two local banks are among 12 international lenders that have applied for licences to operate in Somalia, the country's Central Bank governor Bashir Ali has said.

Kenya Commercial Bank and Commercial Bank of Africa are seeking to set shop in Somalia, although the country has [;aced a two-year moratorium on licensing new banks to enable the financial and banking systems stabilise, said Ali.

ÔÇťOthers are from the gulf region... we are cautious though, in case a bank opens shop, collects deposits and runs off," he said.

Only six banks currently operate in Somalia,whose security situation has improved in recent years according to Ali.

He assured those eyeing the market that the stay on licensing new banks will be lifted once the situation improves further.

New entrants will however not be allowed to operate solo but will instead open subsidiaries in partnership with local investors or the existing banks.

He was speaking on Friday when the bank received $2.5 million (Sh250 million) from a group of donors including the World Bank to set up a robust IT platform.The platform known as the Financial Accounting Controls and Transaction System is being implemented by consultant Sofgen, which has also set up IT systems for various lenders in Kenya.

It is geared at helping the Somali Central Bank play its roles effectively to ensure the country's economic stability and growth.

Other major projects being undertaken by the Somali Central Bank include to create a sound financial system include formalising currency exchange and introduction of an anti money laundering bill, which is expected to improve investor confidence.

Somalia does not yet have a monetary policy, a matter Ali said will be addressed once the government starts printing its own currency.

The World Bank said the new IT system will enable the Central bank of Somalia take on its role of being a provider of payments and banking services to the government, local banks and issuing local currency.



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