In our efforts at 249Startups to generate information , data and opportunities in sudanese markets , We have launched series of forums where we will be hosting experts, Corporate execatives and entrepruners to detect challenging areas and market gaps, and identify what opportunities lie within it, and to provide market insights and know-how on approaching specified subjects.
This is done with the aim of equipping the participants with explicit knowledge about the identified markets and widen their horizons by communicating the different opportunities which lie within them, and try to direct them towards working in areas that are currently a priority for government , development & private sectors .Additionally, encourage the participants to develop solutions to address the identified challenges and gaps in the industry.
And, with the call for applicants for the 3rd batch of the Orange Corners Sudan Incubation Program started, we are considering how the upcoming incubation cohort can address these challenges as well as the needs of the country. With that came the idea
of the incubation program having thematic tracks dedicated to the identified challenging areas and gaps.
First Forum : Digital Transformation & Financial Inclusion
In our first forum, Moderated by Mr.Ammar Hamadien, Consultant Advisor and Researcher in ICT Public Policy & Regulations. We hosted General Director of EBS Sudan. Mr. Omer Omarabi, the General Director of Sudasat Mr. Khalid Ehaimer, and the Managing Director of 249Startups Mr. Mutaz Mohamednour on a webinar on Wednseday 8 July discussing the challenges and opportunities in the paths of Digital Transformation and Financial Inclusion. Watch the full webinar and reach the summary of discussion points .
Digital Transformation and Financial Inclusion are one of the eight tracks of the Orange Corners Program. This webinar is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn about the opportunities available in these paths.
It is the availability and equality of opportunities to access financial services. It also refers to efforts to make financial products and services accessible and affordable to all individuals and businesses regardless of their personal net worth or company size. Financial inclusion strives to remove the barriers that exclude people from participating in the financial sector and using these services to improve their lives. It’s also called inclusive finance.
There are more than 30 banks in Sudan. Its a result of these banks policies as they don’t work towards benefiting the community or the country, they work towards their own interests. However it’s important to mention that financial inclusion doesn’t rely on the banking sector, because it’s always conservative and looks for the big money. So telecommunication companies and fintech are the only way to achieve financial inclusion in Sudan.
Main challenges in financial inclusion in Sudan:
- Only 12-13% of Sudanese people have access to banking services.
- The banking sector needs to be reformed.
- The transitional government isn’t giving the issue enough attention.
- The biggest challenge is in the mindset.
“It is important to highlight that : The business model set by Bank Of Sudan in collaboration with The World Bank allows any company – not only telecommunicaton- to become a financial institution and provide mobile money services to its customers.”
Families support program
Among all the benefits, the biggest benefit is the awareness, where 80% of the citizens will be introduced to the financial sector and hopefully included in it.
Regarding the Families support program launched by the Govenrment & World Bank “this program supposed to provide support to 80% of the population (6,400,000 families, 32,500,000 individual). Each family will receive 12 payments of 500 SDG per member. Initially, it will cover 150,000 families in Khartoum then expand into other states. It’s financed with more than 96% from the donors, half of it was provided in the last donor’s conference, the remaining will be provided next year. | Omer Omarabi – GM , EBS Sudan
Anyone who doesn’t have a national number will not be included in the programme and won’t receive money, so the first success is it will encourage people to extract national number and that is a big boost for digital transformation. Second, the money will be transferred digitally through cards or mobile wallets, which will result in two major advantages.
- It will push the banking sector and financial services companies to reach all the people because they will have 4% as fees which will raise the percentage of financial inclusion.
- It will motivate citizens to have a bank account, card, or mobile wallets in order to collect the money.
The project also works towards establishing a national database that connects the national number with family information, that can be used in providing services like education and healthcare, it’s also going to be connected with other databases such as cars, and real states.
It is the use of new, fast, and frequently changing digital technologies to solve problems. It’s the integration of digital tech into all areas of business, fundamentally changing how to operate and deliver value to customers. It also requires cultural change.
Sudan is going in good steady steps towards digital transformation in the banking sector, as an example the usage of point of sale used to be 10% of ATM cash Withdrawal. Today it’s one and a half times the ATM cash Withdrawal.
We must have a national strategy for digital transformation, it will touch everything in daily life such as agricultural, industry, healthcare, education, elections..etc. Its core mission is to provide services and make life easier. And there must be bodies to watch the strategy as well as laws and regulations.
Main challenges in digital transformation:
- There is no clear strategy or infrastructure for digital transformation in Sudan.
- There’s a lack of national orientation towards digital transformation.
Opportunities for entrepreneurs:
- Financial inclusion is the basis for economic and social inclusion.
- We must raise awareness about the benefits of electronic payments such as mobile money.
- Opportunities lie in problems, and Sudan has many.
- It’s important to enable the private sector and startups to lead this change.
- There’s a huge opportunity for young Sudanese entrepreneurs to create solutions for daily life obstacles in the country.
- We need to learn from the experience we had in remotely working during COVID19 pandemic.
- 3rd world countries need remote working more than anyone because it reduces costs and raises efficiency.
Advices for entrepreneurs
“Look around you, they’re a lot of problems that can be tackled. The opportunities lie there. Keep an eye on trends, and look at the bigger picture” Ammar Hamadin, a constant advisor and researcher in ICT public policy and regulation.
“There are big changes in digital transformation and we need to be productive and work hard, don’t wait for the perfect reality, make it yourself. You have the opportunity to be the firsts.” Omer Omarabi, the general manager of EBS Sudan.
” Put in mind that opportunity comes when there are challenges, innovation and creativity aren’t excluded by a certain age or a degree, all it takes is 1. Needs. And 2. Problems.” Khalid Eihamir, the general manager of Sudasat JV.
This Article had been developed by 249Startups Team for purpose of learning and sharing knowledge as part of Markets Opportunities Mapping Forum . Written by : Thuraya Saad , Copywriter – 249Startups .