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Somalia gets ‘first-ever’ ATM

Somalia’s first-ever automated teller machine has been installed in the capital, Mogadishu.

Published: Updated:

The first-ever automated teller machine (ATM) has been installed in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, in what has been dubbed as a “big step forward,” the BBC reported on Tuesday.

Conflicts in the country have thwarted the development of Somalia’s banking sector for more than two decades. Many people in the country tend to rely on money transfers from abroad.

According to the report, the new machine has been set up by Salaam Somali Bank at an upscale hotel.

However, at the present time it only dispenses the commonly used U.S. dollars as many customers prefer it over the Somali shilling.

It also allows people to withdraw money from international bank accounts, using cards such as Visa and MasterCard, the report added.

A spokesman for Salaam Somali Bank, Said Abukar, told the BBC more international currencies would be added in the future.

"We may add other international currencies in the future. People from the diaspora and foreigners have welcomed the move with enthusiasm. We are planning to install more ATMs in Mogadishu," he said.

A visitor from the UK told the BBC the move was a "big step forward" for Somalia.

"I have been staying in Mogadishu for longer than I originally planned so I ran out of cash. I couldn't believe my luck when I heard about the new cash machine," said Omar Hassan.