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As a first in Somalia, Hormuud Telecom, the country’s largest telecommunications provider, has announced the rollout of its first indigenous mobile money application, WAAFI.

This fin-tech app gives Somalis access to a range of digital services across a singular platform: they can access bank accounts, perform online transactions, send international remittances, make international/domestic phone calls all from inside the app, and make in-country bank transfers via their phone. This supports Somalia’s goal to become a truly cashless economy and helps combat fraud – it is currently estimated that over 95% of the Somali shilling in circulation is counterfeit.

WAAFI provides a fully integrated mobile money experience that upgrades from the existing USSD technology that many Somalis use. Currently, USSD-enabled mobile money technology is widespread in Somalia, with penetration rates as high as 80% in urban areas and 55% in rural areas.

Hormuud’s target in launching WAAFI is to reinvent the success mobile platforms have seen in neighboring countries. It also hopes that the app will be an enabler for new value chains and new business models in Somalia by eliminating inefficiencies, such as typing an incorrect number during a USSD transaction.

Speaking on the announcement, Hormuud CEO and Chairman Ahmed Mohammed Yuusuf said, “Somalia is a unique example of a country where digital adoption is widespread among all age ranges and demographics. We are continuing to see a move towards a position where Somalia can claim to be the world’s first truly cashless economy, and the roll out of WAAFI is an important step on that journey. Providing businesses and customers with more efficient technology is going to be a driving force behind the development of the Somali economy and its integration with the wider international community.”

WAAFI allows users to access their bank account through deposits and withdrawals via their EVC Plus wallet. Through this, businesses can generate QR codes that allow customers to directly credit businesses bank accounts.

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