Fintech Innovation Will Unlock Opportunities For EAC Integration.
Against the backdrop of a nation emerging from civil war, Somalia is carving out a new narrative of growth. Today it stands on the cusp of new era of entrepreneurialism and trade.
Somalia’s acceptance into the East African Community (EAC) is a significant stride in its history. With a combined GDP of $305 billion and a population of 283.7 million, EAC membership offers a broader market, increased investment opportunities, and will connect the large Somalia diaspora within East Africa with home.
For two decades, its banking sector, once shackled by economic challenges, has been laying the foundations for Somalis to optimize on this opportunity. Its journey is one of innovation, giving Somalia entrepreneurs, which make up 76% of the population, the financial infrastructure to thrive. This same spirit, will intime, be the catalyst for trade with their regional neighbors.
Salaam Somali Bank has established itself as key player in this transformation, by introducing pioneering fintech services in the country. Its mobile banking service, Deeqtoon was the first mobile banking service in Somalia, and it stands testament to the world-renowned Somali spirit of entrepreneurialism and innovation.
Launched in response to a demand for service availability and a drive to expand service use capacity, Deeqtoon is now a cornerstone for transactions. The one stop platform offers services ranging from account-to-account transfers to electronic deposits and withdrawals, for both individuals and corporate entities.
Deeqtoon also acts as a bridge between formal and informal financial services, enabling the transfer of funds between mobile money and bank accounts, ensuring that everyone can play a part in the Somali economy.
Mobile banking with its accessibility and convenience, has eased access to banking services. This is in turn is creating new possibilities for economic participation and growth. Deeqtoon service’s volume use is equivalent to 45% of the bank’s market share.
Businesses in Somalia use Deeqtoon to conveniently connect with customers across the country. Somgas, a supplier of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) uses the service to connects more than 20,000 customers. Through this platform, customers enjoy a seamless, experience when paying for their energy needs, and Somgas efficiently receives payments using the platform.
“Deqtoon is unique service-oriented model that made our lives easier and simpler in many aspects while the service goes above and beyond our expectations” said Abdullahi Hassan Haidar from Somgas.
The use of USSD, EVC Plus and WAAFI app has given the large Somali diaspora spread across East Africa, a window into Somalia’s financial system. The diaspora can now manage their in-country accounts by using the app from anywhere in the world. Through the interoperability with traditional banking and mobile money services, they can also transfer funds to family and friends with ease.
For Salaam Somali Bank, the customer must remain heart of innovation. To increase the safe and secure use of mobile banking, they’re also rolling out financial literacy programmes across their 55 branches in Somalia.
“As the banking industry transforms in the face of technological evolution, our commitment is to innovate with purpose and empower our clients. We envision a future where banking is not just a service but an experience that seamlessly integrates with the lives of our customers, fostering financial well-being and prosperity.” notes the Managing Director, Shuayb Haji Nur Mohamed.
The Managing Director believes that the bank’s commitment aligns with Somalia’s economic aspirations within the EAC. He believes that Deeqtoon not only contributes to the democratization of banking services but also fosters economic inclusion in Somalia’s dynamic economic landscape.
“Deeqtoon exemplifies our commitment to harnessing innovation for the benefit of our customers and the broader community. As Somalia develops, Salaam Somali Bank aims to be at the forefront of this transformative journey,” he added.
As Somalia looks ahead to its future, Salaam Somali Bank envisions a role where the banking sector becomes a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity.
The MD emphasizes collaboration within the EAC, stating, “We look forward to working with EAC members to develop well-defined banking protocols that will allow Somali banks to work with other financial institutions within the bloc.”
The story of Somalia’s banking sector is not just one of recovery; it is a tale of resilience. Salaam Somali Bank, through innovations like Deeqtoon, not only navigates the challenges of the past but also steers Somalia towards a future of economic prosperity and stability.