International Business Times quotes Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham on MasterCard’s plan to use debit and credit cards to both gain access to and bolster the Somali economy, now largely dependent on remittance funds transferred from abroad:

“It’s not going to solve the remittance problem. There’s more to it,” said Peter Pham, head of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. For instance, it wasn’t until last 2014 that the first automated teller machines were installed in the capital city of Mogadishu.

“To make it useful, you would have to have fairly significant infrastructure. Over time it’s possible, but certainly not in the short term,” Pham said. He added that, while it may be a very difficult transition period, the move could certainly lay the groundwork for future development, even if it takes a long time.

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