Apex Bank of Somalia plans to redesign notes

According to the central bank Deputy Governor, Ali Yasin Wardheere, Somalia is redesigning its banknotes to replace those issued before the civil war in 1991. The central bank plans to open new branches in the capitals of all federal member states by June 2023, including Garowe, Baidoa, and Kismayo. These branches will assist the central bank in collecting taxes, storing money, and serving as the federal states’ fiscal agents.

The regulator has set up a unit “specifically dedicated to combating the counterfeit money market.” This unit will also be responsible for maintaining the value of the new money that the central bank intends to print, helping it to control inflation.

The Central Bank of Somalia has been working with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to replace bills and issue high-value currency notes since 2018. The central bank also plans to digitize its systems to make it easier for banks to send money to one another. In August 2021, the central bank established a new national payments system for the country.

Previously, Somalia’s financial system could not meet anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations due to the absence of a functioning government and central banking authority. This prompted Somalis to rely on unlicensed mobile money platforms or face-to-face transactions involving cash or barter to meet their financial needs. However, the central bank has been working to rebuild the financial system in recent years, including granting the first license for mobile-money providers in early 2021 and introducing Visa card payment services in partnership with the International Bank of Somalia.

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