Somalia’s breakaway enclave of Somaliland formally opened its first commercial bank on Sunday, as part of its effort to attract foreign lenders.
President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo officially inaugurated Dahabshil International Commercial Bank in Hargeisa, calling it a “vanguard for national development and progress”.
Somaliland, in the northeast of Somalia, has not been recognised internationally.
In 2012, it established a central bank, looking to encourage foreign commercial banks to start operating.
It has traditionally had no formal banking sector and its people rely heavily on remittances from Diaspora communities in Europe, North America and the United Arab Emirates, as there are no ATMs or loan facilities.
Abdirashid Mohamed Saed, Dahabshil’s manager, said the bank was officially recognised less than a year ago and had issued $70 million in loans, providing benefits to the livestock, agriculture, education, health and real state financing sectors.
After the opening on Sunday of its first actual branch, Saed said the bank plans to open offices in all the regions of Somaliland.