Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your career to date?
My name is Manal Mubarak Yassin, from Sudan. By profession I’m a telecommunications engineer. I started my career as a system administrator in a company specialised in banking software development. After a year, there was a need in the marketing department for an ERP system product manager and I was nominated for the position and that was the start of my career transformation towards the financial sector. I decided to do a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) to bridge the gap I had because of my academic background. After completing the mt MBA, I joined the national payment switch then I moved to the national telecommunications company where I established and led the DFS unit. I left 4 years ago to establish my own consultancy business.
How did you come to work in digital financial services?
When I joined the national switch I joined the team that was working on the national mobile money project, and I continued since then working in this industry.
What is it that motivates you to continue with the work you are doing?
The value that DFS I know bring to the people lives of my community and country. I believe that access to a formal financial instrument is a human right in the same way that access to clean water and electricity is a human right.
Are there specific challenges you are tackling today?
This industry is still in early stages in my country, enabling and supporting regulations and policies, relevant trainings, awareness and demand, pool of specialists are all to grow.
How did you come to know DFI, and what have you enjoyed most about your interactions with us?
I have came to know about DFI through a normal Google search. I was looking for a professional Certificate in Digital Money. I did enjoy everything, the certificates, materials, delivery mode and methodology, webinars and the community.
How has your journey with DFI impacted your career?
When I joined CIDM (Certificate in Digital Money) I was starting my job in the national MNO in the mobile money stream, I was the only one there. I wanted to fill me knowledge gaps, to learn what is happening in this space, how to run the service and grow it. CIDM helped in filling those gaps and I’ve been promoted to a manager. I continued to complete other courses and I was able to apply what I was learning to my job. When I left the company, I left a dedicated unit for DFS, dedicated teams in each of the supporting departments (technical, sales, finance, etc). As well, I participated in the national committee to form the National E-Payment Law.
What are your hopes for the future, what would you like to see come to pass in this lifetime?
At a personal level, I echo what my manager has once said, your playing field is the whole Africa not only your country. I hope to get the chance to join together as many projects across the continent to help strengthen DFS offerings and achieve enablement and transformation for the lives of the beloved African people and beyond. I dream of a day when we see the financially excluded population come to ZERO.
What did you enjoy the most about Community of Practice and why would you recommend them to others?
COP provides a good opportunity to network with peers in the market, negotiate issues and uplift each other.
How have you shared your knowledge and experience with your local COP or to the global community?
Being the COP facilitator, I got the chance to use my experience to guide other students throughout their journey and to hold webinars on the topics.
What would you like to see happen in your community in the DFS space and how do you think you can contribute towards this?
I like to see mobile money succeed, it is still struggling to get traction. I like to see that we are moving towards second generation services that would serve the people of Sudan more and I wish to be able to combine my efforts and learning with my colleagues towards raising the financial inclusion rate in Sudan.
Any other thoughts or comments you’d like to share with the DFI community and prospective students?
The CDFP journey is an amazing one, it can transform your career, it lifts you to be confident and speak the same language of your peers across the world, maximise the benefit of this journey. Network – Network – Network then pay forward by helping others on their journeys and join the dialogue in your country.
Tell us more about your role as COP facilitator. What value do you think the COP gives to students/alumni?
COP gives the feeling of belongings and encourage students to progress throughout the course, they feel they are not alone and they have a support system.
How did your association form? What made you want to be part of the forming of the association?
The idea of Shomoul FinaTech Association came out of a DFI COP. We thought why not go beyond the COP and have a bigger community to join hands with others in pushing the FinTech sector forward in Sudan. Shomoul aims at ensuring access to affordable, easy to understand and fair financial services for all people across Sudan by collaborating with all stakeholders in the ecosystem.
What impact do you hope it will have?
Shomoul to succeed in being the bridge between different stakeholders locally and the bridge between the local ecosystem and the regional and international ones.
How can people join or find out more?
DFI alumni are automatically offered to join if they want. After finalising the membership model, every interested company or individual can join if meets the membership criteria. More information is available in Shomoul website http://shomoul.sd/ and the page in LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/company/shomoulsd/