International Expert Discusses FinTech Sector in the MENA region
Manal Murbarak, Manager Mobile Financial Services, Sudatel Telecom Group
1. How is Sudatel Telecom Group innovating in payments?
Sudatel Telecom Group provides a mobile money service under the brand name Gorooshi (Sudanese slang for my money). It enables people to perform a number of financial services such as electricity purchase, money transfer, pay governmental services fees, phone top up, as well as integration with bank account for banked users. It has multiple user interfaces, USSD, Mobile App in addition to possibility to be integrated with web interfaces. The service aims to be a pillar of e-Government infrastructure in Sudan.
2. What are the key themes in your upcoming speaker session at PayExpo MENA?
The session focus is on how innovation in payment lays the foundation for society transformation towards a digital society where people’s lives become more comfortable and how we are implementing IOT as another step of society transformation.
The key themes are:
- Sudanese Society movement towards electronic payments.
- Mobile Money interoperability in Sudan.
- Collaborating with banks not competing.
- How Sudan innovates under embargo.
- How we add value to mobile money service to move from payment channel to value chain.
- Sudatel as a provider for disruptive infrastructure.
3. How do you see FinTech evolve further into IoT platforms for greater holistic consumer interconnectivity?
FinTech with the advantage of specialty in specific domain/service can deliver high quality services. When those services are integrated with big companies platforms and portfolio like telecom operators, I believe they deliver a better offerings to customers.
On the other hand, it’s preferable for big companies to focus on interconnecting all platforms provided by FinTech to provide a full suite of solutions to end user, capitalising on their rich experience and infrastructure.
4. How has mobile has empowered the under and un-banked in Africa?
Mobile penetration in Africa has exceeded 67% and is now much more than a communication tool. One of its main new roles is performing financial transactions. This helps customers in areas where security is a serious issue, where transportation to banks in main cities is too difficult, where the illiteracy rate is high. In short, mobile has changed people’s lives by providing a matured and secured channel to deliver the following:
- Send and receive money to/from relatives and others.
- Receive subsidies.
- Receive micro finance capital and manage and pay installments.
- Manage spending.
- Manage savings and save cost of keeping money with relatives or friends.
- Perform all transactions without the need to leave workplace.
- New job opportunities.
These benefits have impact on society welfare by achieving financial inclusion and decrease the rate of unemployment, in turn improving the community.
5. What do you see as the future iterations for FinTech on the African continent?
Global investment for FinTech has hit $17 billion and this sector has quickly evolved to be a new market player. Operators can capitalise on this by being open and willing to take a risk, adapting quickly and working collaboratively, in turn disrupting traditional financial business. A kind of outsourcing may appear, i.e. banks may cooperate with FinTech to reach people in faraway areas. It is costly for bank to reach them through its traditional channels, but the FinTech is willing to engage and more flexible in the operational dimension.
Manal Murbarak is Manager Mobile Financial Services at Sudan Telecom. He will deliver a session on Utilising digital innovation in payments and the IOT at PayExpo MENA taking place at 5-7 December in Dubai
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