MasterCard issues credit cards in strife-torn Somalia

MasterCard Worldwide, the US-based multinational financial services firm, this week commenced dispensing credit cards in the strife-torn Somalia, in the horn of Africa in East Africa.

This is in an effort to get its share of the $1.6 billion yearly remittances income that has been messed up by US and UK banks who have put a moratorium on the their services in Somalia fearing to be accidentally part of the money laundering schemes and wiring money meant for terror attacks.

In this venture, MasterCard is working with Somalia’s Premier Bank and has by this time put into circulation its first credit cards to Somalis. Daniel Monehin, division president for sub-Saharan Africa at MasterCard, said the company was not at all lowering its standards with this move. “We are keeping with all anti-money-laundering regulations,” Monehin told Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in Cape Town on Thursday.

He said initially the cards would likely be applied for use on ATM withdrawals. “If the country’s not under sanctions, it’s open for business,” said Monehin, when asked about the company’s decision to tackle the Somali market.
MasterCard will not charge more than what it charges in other parts of the world where its products are being circulated.

Somalia has been under a spell of a civil war for about 25 years. Al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda-linked Islamic militant terror group, has been in incessant battles with the country’s army and armed forces from neighbours Kenya and Ethiopia.

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