News / Africa

South Sudan Money Transfer Services Hit by Crisis

Six months of fighting in South Sudan is impacting money transfer services, business operators say.
Six months of fighting in South Sudan is impacting money transfer services, business operators say.
The crisis in South Sudan has not only created a humanitarian disaster that has displaced more than one million people, separated children from their families and left nearly four million people facing alarming hunger, it's also hitting the national and local economies hard.

Oil production, the lifeblood of South Sudan's economy, is down by around 30 percent, according to international reports. The cholera outbreak in Juba, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has tied to the six-month-old conflict in the country, has forced many food vendors and tea sellers in Juba to shut up shop, as people shun food prepared outdoors and health officials step up hygiene inspections.

Residents of towns like Torit, in the south of the country, have said that even though they have not been hit directly by the violence, they have felt its bite, with food, fuel and even mobile telephone airtime in short supply.

'This year is not going well'

Now, another business is being hit: money transfer companies.
The manager of Eden Money Transfer in Wau, Christopher Tabu Enok, told South Sudan in Focus that  business has dropped by 30 percent since the beginning of the year. He blamed the conflict that broke out in mid-December, and the fact that civil servants in Western Bahr El Ghazal state have not receive their salaries since May, for the slump in business.

Eden Money Transfer depends on salary remittances from government employees for its survival.

"There is no salary in the community, then this is affecting our business concerning sending and receiving," Enok said.

"That is why...  this year is not going well," he said.
Eden sister offices in Bor, Bentiu and Malakal -- the capitals respectively of Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile, the three states hardest hit by the fighting -- closed down after thousands of civilians took refuge at U.N. compounds, Enok said.

But he remains hopeful that business will pick up soon, especially now that President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar have signed an agreement to respect a ceasefire deal and set up a transitional government.

Jane Elario came to Eden to receive money to buy medication and pay school fees for her children. The money was sent to Wau from Juba by her husband, who works in the capital. Elario has been waiting for it for more than two months.
‘’When this money is sent, I use it for my kids. Sometime when it is delayed, we really suffer with my children," she said.
Peter Wien Akej,  who is from Bor, fled Jonglei state with his wife and two kids and resettled in Wau to try to start a new life. He has struggled to find a job and this week came to Warthok Money Transfer to pick up some money that his brother sent from Yambio.

The 100 South Sudanese pounds his brother sent won't go far, though. It will be all gone once Akej has bought food and malaria medicine, he said.

At the Gai foreign exchange bureau in Wau, manager Andrea N'gor highlights another problem: it's hard to find foreign currency like the euro, U.S. dollar or British pound in local banks. 

"We don’t have dollars because the central bank in Wau doesn’t have them," N'gor said.
"We are supposed to have it so that we can help our citizens in the state," he said.

The Gai bureau de change has simply stopped doing foreign exchange.

According to the U.S. State Department, South Sudan has around 19 banks and about 70 foreign exchange bureaus. Prior to the conflict, the largest four banks and foreign exchange bureaus held around 70 percent of all assets.

Before the crisis, money transfer companies were gaining in popularity in South Sudan, because they made sending and receiving remittances faster and do not charge the same high transfer fees as banks.

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Comment Sorting
by: Anoko Abraham from: Kampala,Uganda
June 17, 2014 9:12 AM
We are also facing a seriouse challenge over here,,i came over to kampala since January this year but i have so far received only once due to lack of foreign exchange especially Dollars in the country,,,this crisis has affect every thing S.Sudan owns internally and externally..

by: Jeffrey Ngueny Deng from: Akobo,South Sudan
June 16, 2014 2:13 AM
Am thinking over how Museveni feel when South Sudan money hit by Crisis which is use to refuelled through his dictatorial detendences,i whish museveni will regret before half time .
We HOPE the new Regime will the economy better with no corruption.

by: Bol from: Bor
June 15, 2014 7:19 AM
The US of ol A wants to squeeze its Wall street/banking scams into South Sudan's disaster it helps create?! Here we go!

But the US knows that, its evil games are all under South Sudanese people microscope. The US will try every evil intrigue it possibly can to make South Sudan its another corporate *client* state; but South Sudanese people are fast learners though.

Now that the South Sudanese people wanted resolved their problems and criminals and evils that make their lives on others want to create another avenue so that they can thrive in between the mess in South Sudan.

But the criminals will be sourly disappointed.

by: Lisa from: Tx
June 14, 2014 12:37 PM
South Sudan, having shortage of money, we should not be suprise this started with the south sudanese government, the looting of money start from the minsters, look at the office of defense and army, Education, health, etc this looting started from top under the watchful eyes of presendent, then pretended to blem riek , Mrs garang,deng alor and some people within mostly some of this guys never give Adamm about kiirs government.

by: gatwich luk from: juba
June 14, 2014 5:34 AM
I think the issue of money transfer services is one of the major cooruptions cases in south sudan,it shouldn't be used by our people as part of the crises .itis cooruption which was there before .because most of the transfer services are for those who are working with they should keep silent not to connect it with the current. crises.

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