By Our Reporter
South Sudan has launched its first mobile phone-based money transfer that allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services across Africa’s youngest nation. Trading under the brand name M-Gurush, the new mobile phone-based money transfer service is a joint partnership between Trinity Technologies and Zain one of the leading mobile phone networks in the country. To register, users will dial
*355#. The service allows users to deposit money into an account stored on their cell phones, to send balances using PIN-secured SMS text messages to other users, including sellers of goods and services, and to redeem deposits for regular money. 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 his part, the deputy vice-president of the company, Joseph Arinaibwe said the 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 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,” added
Arinaibwe. “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,” he said.
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, mobile money will complement the formal banking services,” said Omondi. 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.