South Sudan Launches First Mobile Money Service

South Sudan Launches First Mobile Money Service

mobile money
Mobile money services allow people without a bank account to transfer money between phones. AP Photo – Sayyid Abdul Azim

South Sudan has launched a mobile money service that represents a first in Africa’s newest country, introducing mobile-based financial services for a largely unbanked population.

The new service, mGurush, is a joint venture between Trinity Technologies Limited, a South Sudan telecommunication company specializing in the design and development of financial services, and Zain Telcoms, a Kuwait-based mobile operator with operations in eight countries across the Middle East and Africa, according to VenturesAfrica.

Gurush is the Arabic word for money.

Eight years after gaining independence, South Sudan is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis due to continuous political conflict made worse by economic woes and drought.

United Nations data show that South Sudan has the third-largest refugee crisis after Syria and Afghanistan. More than 3.7 million people have fled their homes to escape the conflict.

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The mobile money service will be accessible to South Sudanese users via any mobile phone, according to the mGurush.

Based in Juba, South Sudan, mGurush will operate through the Trinity Technologies offices and use a network of agents contracted across the country.

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New mobile money service for South Sudan

Remittances have traditionally been a challenge for South Sudanese people, who must often travel to neighboring countries such as Kenya and Uganda to receive remittances due to the lack of financial infrastructure in South Sudan, the WorldBank reports.

This new mobile money service aims to change that. Customers can send and receive money at any of mGurush’s growing network of agents across the country.

They can also process payments or send money directly from their mobile apps.

Consumers can use the mGurush mobile money platform to pay bills, buy airtime, transfer money, send cross-border remittances and pay for services, according to the company.

mGurush is expecting to work with private companies, government and humanitarian organizations, VenturesAfrica reports.

Recent data shows that the mobile ecosystem across sub-Saharan Africa generated almost $150 billion in economic value in 2018 – equivalent to 8.6 percent of the region’s GDP.

It is forecast to generate almost $185 billion by 2023, according to GSMA.