South Sudan is set to enjoy its first mobile phone-based money transfer service. Trading under the brand name m-GURUSH (m-for mobile and GURUSH for money in Arabic), the new mobile commerce platform is a joint partnership between South Sudan’s own Trinity Technologies Limited, a local tech firm, and Zain Telcoms South Sudan. The product is licensed by the Bank of South Sudan and the National Communication Authority of South Sudan to roll out Mobile Money Services.
“We are not just launching a brand name today. The m-GURUSH money mobile commerce platform presents a complete transformation from your first interaction with it, which is a simple, easy to use customer friendly access menu that makes it fast and convenient for customers and dealers to carry out transactions. The platform provides consumers with a robust offering of products that cuts across, Service Payments, Airtime top up and money transfer services.” said Mr. Joseph Arinaitwe, Trinity Technologies Vice President, adding that m-GURUSH is further supported by a state-of-the-art platform ensuring system stability and a great customer experience.
The launch of m-GURUSH signals the start of a major shift in the mobile money industry in South Sudan, which will promote broad digitization of the economy: mobile money customers will not just have access to an account, but rather to a full suite of services that are relevant to their daily lives, encouraging them to keep their funds in digital form and building resilience to financial shocks.
For South Sudan’s most vulnerable, especially displaced persons and women, the benefits of mobile money are real and far reaching. m-GURUSH will actively pursue partnerships with the Government and humanitarian organizations to ensue ease of access to affordable financial services. We will work closely with our network partner and the Government in reaching Small and Medium Enterprises and the underserved population, including female customers with relevant and tailored products and services.
Any business that is legally registered in the Republic of South Sudan can apply to become an m-GURUSH Mobile Money Agent in any of the 32 states South Sudan. m-GURUSH offers affordable rates to its registered customers who can send any amounts between 1 Pound and 100 Pounds for FREE. The cost of sending between 501 pounds to 1,000 pounds at 15 South Sudanese Pounds. Customers can also pay for goods and services using m-GURUSH PAY at registered merchant outlets countrywide.
Mr. Arinaitwe further explained that m-GURUSH will drive financial inclusion and economic empowerment and economic growth for millions of unbanked citizens across the width and breath South Sudan, enabling enterprise development, new employment opportunities and uplifting the living standards amongst the youth and the entire rural and urban population of the country.
Mr. Arinaitwe said besides the money transfer business, the new features on m-GURUSH money will enable the company to fully tap into the mobile commerce business in South Sudan.
The launch event was attended by the Minister for information, Communications Technology and Postal Services Mr. Michael Makuei Lueth, the Governor of the Bank of South Sudan Hon. Dier Tong Ngor and the Director General National Communications Authority Dr. Lado Wani Kenyi
How m-GURUSH works
m-GURUSH is a virtual banking system that provides transaction services through a SIM card on the Zain network. Once the SIM has been inserted into the card slot of the mobile device, users can make payments and transfer money to vendors and family members using SMS messages. The service is available on UUSD and on a Mobile App that customers can download from the Google Play store.
Customers can self-register for m-GURUSH by dialing *355# on their mobile Zain mobile phones and follow the USSD prompts. A customer can send and receive up to South Sudanese £100,000 per day and hold a balance of £200,000 in their mobile wallets at any one time.
Users with no bank accounts can access the numerous m-GURUSH outlets distributed across the country. The money that needs to be stored is given to the agent attendant, who transfers the amount in digital form to the user’s m-GURUSH account. For example, a trader or boda-boda rider who has no bank account and wants to deposit his sales proceeds of 1,000 South Sudanese Pounds would head to an m-GURUSH outlet and deposit the money with the agent or attendant. The agent would, in turn, use her phone to access the client’s account with the client’s registered phone number and credit the account for 1,000 South Sudanese Pounds. The trader of boda-boda rider gets an SMS notification on his cellphone within seconds of the deposit confirming how much was deposited and what his current account balance holds.
The trader or boda-boda rider can also easily withdraw cash from his account by using the m-GURUSH attendant’s or agent’s number provided at the outlet and a personal PIN. m-GURUSH provides receipts as proof of a transaction. For a transaction to take place, both parties have to exchange each other’s phone numbers because the phone numbers act as account numbers. After settlement, both parties would receive an SMS notification with the full name of the counterparty and the amount of funds deposited to or withdrawn from the user’s account. The mobile receipt, which is received within seconds, helps to promote transparency for all individuals involved in a transaction.