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Another Step to Bringing Sudan in from the Cold

Faisal Islamic Bank of Sudan (FIB), one of the country’s largest lenders, has become the first indigenous bank to obtain a card issuing and acquiring license from US firm Mastercard. The branded cards – either debit, credit or pre-paid – can be used online, in stores and at ATMs across the globe. The partnership is a watershed moment for Sudan, which since the fall of dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019, has taken steps to rejoin the global financial system. Until now it was impossible to use a Sudanese bank account abroad. The agreement was made in partnership with the UK-based payments company Network International. Moawia Ahmed Elamin, CEO of FIB, called the partnership a “huge milestone” that will “enable the bank’s customers to withdraw funds from ATMs globally, shop online, and transact at millions of merchants around the world that accept Mastercard payment cards.” According to the Central Bank of Sudan, there are 34 banks in Sudan. Many of the financial institutions were unable to lend or offer services to customers during the harsh economic conditions of the Bashir era. It is hoped that more Sudanese banks will enter into partnerships with global financial giants like Mastercard and Visa to bring a range of services to the private sector and the domestic market.