South Sudan launches first mobile money service

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Technology firms in South Sudan have launched the country’s first mobile money service.

M-Gurush allows customers to pay for goods and services across South Sudan using their mobile phones, similar to platforms already being used in Kenya and other East African nations. While infrastructural challenges remain, the launch of the country’s first mobile money platform is significant as it aims to pull itself out of the economic damage caused by civil conflict.

South Sudan gets its first mobile money platform

With M-Gurush, customers are ablet o pat for goods and services without needing a bank account. Aside from making it easier for people to use money across the country, mobile payments mean people of low incomes and those living in rural areas have greater financial manoeuvrability.

South Sudan’s Minister of Information Michael Makuei demonstrated the power of mobile payments by purchasing a cow using his mobile phone.

While Makuei acknowledges people living in rural areas will need time to trust mobile payments, he says the long-term benefits will transform the lives of people in South Sudan and help rebuild the economy after years of civil war.

Meanwhile, telecoms specialists also admit network coverage and other infrastructural challenges remain. Villages and rural areas were hit particularly hard during the war and much of this infrastructure was destroyed during the conflict. South Sudan will need investment to develop its telecoms sector but the country should become a more attractive prospect for investors as long as the current peace agreement holds.

Featured image: “An enterprising camp resident charges phones, UN House, Juba, South Sudan” flickr photo by Oxfam International https://flickr.com/photos/oxfam/12347887775 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.