South Sudan has officially launched its first mobile money service.
Trading under the brand name M-Gurush, the new mobile phone-based money transfer service is a joint partnership between Trinity Technologies and Zain Company.
According to Radio Tamazuj, the new mobile commerce platform is licensed by the Bank of South Sudan and the National Communication Authority.
South Sudan’s information minister, Michael Makuei Lueth said the initiative will create job opportunities for the youth in rural and urban areas.
“M-Gurush will create job opportunities to young people both in the rural and urban areas,” Makuei said during the launching ceremony in Juba on Sunday.
On his part, the deputy vice-president of the company, Joseph Arinaibwe said introduction of the mobile money service will enhance faster transactions and create job opportunities for people.
“The financial landscape has been changed for the best and forever. M-Gurush is a mobile-based and digital services solution that will work with anyone that has a handset across South Sudan. Basically, services that will be available on M-Gurush include the following; cash in, cash out, bill payment, airtime purchases, cross-border remittances and power payment options. These services will primarily run on a USB or a mobile application,” said Arinaibwe.
He added, “We are glad that South Sudan is now a member of E-money group of nations and becomes the 92nd country in the world to start offering mobile money services.”
Arinaibwe pointed out that M-Gurush is not about the technology, but rather about positively impacting on people’s lives.
He observed that mobile money service will help in financial inclusion since a large portion of the population’s money is not banked.
“M-Gurush will also help reduce the cost of moving funds between people, government and businesses as well as target the upcountry areas to help rural market penetration and digitization of agriculture value change,” stressed Arinaibwe.
He added, “The mobile money services will be a vehicle for hard-to-reach areas. It will also provide employment to women and youths and help people live dignified lives. Our selection process targets young people to partner with us as the agents”.
Victor Omonmdi, a representative of the mobile company Zain, said mobile money was not coming to replace banks, but to create job opportunities for young people and women especially in rural areas.
“Since it is hard to reach the local population in the countryside, digital solution will the unmet services to them. Mobile money is coming to complement what the banks did not do,” said Omondi.
“We will have 4G internet services across the country,” he added.
The chairperson of National Communication Authority (NCA), Ladu Kenyi said M-Gurush will enhance better service provision to people.
“With the mobile money service, goods will be purchased using M-Gurush and this will ease the burden of carrying money,” he said.
However, Africa Tembelea has learnt that high illiteracy rates, lack of identity cards, low coverage and money laundering as likely hindrances to mobile money service in South Sudan.