MTN and Zain to launch mobile money services in South Sudan

20 July 2012 | Kavit Majithia


MTN and Zain have reportedly targeted South Sudan as a possible market where the companies could launch mobile money services.

Both groups are planning to launch services which will enable the use of mobile phones as virtual bank accounts, in the world’s youngest nation. The country marked its first year of independence this month, but there are fewer than 0.01 bank accounts in the country for every adult. This is compared to 0.3 for the rest of Africa and 1.6 for western Europe, according to Reuters.

It is thought such a development could transform the country’s economy and introduce a service that is similar to Safaricom’s M-Pesa proposition in Kenya. The development by Zain and MTN could see the introduction of financial services to rural communities.

For such a service to work, the companies will need to partner with banks for the venture. It is expected the penetration for mobile phones in the country will almost triple over the next four years, with forecasts for mobile money subscriptions totalling to transactions worth $1.03 billion by 2016.

“There’s pent up demand for it, particularly in the NGO sector, government and business,” Dario N’Moi, chief executive of Zain South Sudan told reporters.

Zain and MTN control 39% and 28% of the South Sudan mobile market, with Zain aiming to launch mobile money services to boost market share to 50%.

MTN said it expects the service to be up and running by the end of 2012.