UK-based Mi-Pay and Kuwaiti outfit Isys Global Trading Group have launched a person-to-person mobile money transfer service in Sudan ahead of a wider rollout that will cover 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
The Saraf-Mobile platform lets people in Sudan transfer money immediately to family and friends using their mobile phones. Recipients receive SMS text messages when they are sent money and can collect it at Saraf-Mobile agents. The service can also be used by customers to make payments to businesses.
The vendors say the system is ideal for banks across the Middle East and Africa, representing a completely managed, customer ready operator independent service.
This reduces the time to market and operational overhead traditionally associated with establishing this type of service model. It also offers the potential to evolve new revenue streams for financial institutions by providing ubiquitous services such as mobile top-up, utilities payment and money collection, says Mi-Pay.
Glen Jennison, MD, Mi-Pay Middle East, says: "Cash is king in the majority of Middle East and African countries and mobile phone penetration can be almost 100%. The opportunities for 'Saraf-Mobile', therefore, are immense."
Mi-Pay is supplying the open-system technical infrastructure, including transaction clearance and settlement interface and is also managing the regulatory framework. Isys is providing local management and technical support as well as partner recruitment and dealing with local regulation.
A slew of firms have moved to introduce mobile banking services in Africa recently, seeking to take advantage of the continent's huge unbanked population.
Last month Monitise struck a partnership with E-Fulusi Africa, the Tanzanian mobile wallet provider to develop m-banking services in East Africa.
Just a week earlier Middle East and African mobile telecommunications provider Zain partnered with banks including Standard Chartered and Citi to offer mobile banking to over 100 million people in East Africa with the launch of its new service, Zap.