Somalia - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Financing
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Somalia is mainly a U.S. dollar-based economy.  The primary transaction currency is U.S. dollars. Even though Somalia-based banks finance trade, some companies receive vendor financing through their suppliers.  Somalia is in the middle of a debt-relief process, potentially to be concluded as soon as late 2023, and cannot borrow to enhance its infrastructure until completed. Somalia receives external assistance from both multilateral and bilateral sources.  Somalia receives substantial grants from the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and others.  

Methods of Payment

More than 75 percent of business transactions take place online via banking systems and mobile money-based systems.  Major international payment cards such as Visa and Mastercard are available in Somalia.  The Central Bank of Somalia, in close collaboration with Somali Bankers Association, is in the final stages of setting up the first Credit Reference Bureau to ensure the credit rating of individuals and companies. For more information about the methods of payment or other trade finance options, please read the Trade Finance Guide.

Banking Systems

Somalia’s banking system is recovering. There are over 13 licensed banks, 15 registered microfinance institutions, and more than a dozen money remittance companies.  The Central Bank of Somalia has recently launched a national payment system that allows banks to increase inter-operability via connections to the clearing and settlement system of the central bank.

To access Somalia’s ICS section on financing, visit the U.S. Department of State Investment Climate Statement website.

Foreign Exchange Controls

Somalia is a dollarized economy, and most price quotations are in U.S. dollars rather than in Somali shillings.  A financial control system is in place, and export documentation is required by the financial institutions in Somalia to be in compliance with current monetary policies and regulations.  Any sum above $10,000 will require proof/evidence of payment.  Banks are required to submit this documentation to the Central Bank of Somalia.

U.S. Banks and Correspondent Banks

Somalia has no registered U.S. bank operating within its borders.  Several local banks have a correspondent banking relationships with overseas banks through the Central Bank of Somalia (CBS). Local Somali banks also have correspondent accounts with regional banks in neighboring countries that in turn have correspondent banking relationships with U.S. banks.  Somali financial networks are expected to improve as the CBS receives training and technical assistance from IMF, World Bank, and the United States.