Africa’s payment platform is fully operational, Papss chief tells bankers

Africa’s payment platform is fully operational, Papss chief tells bankers

Pan-African Payment & Settlement System chief executive officer (CEO) Mike Ogbalu III, has told executives of African commercial banks and bankers’ associations that the continent’s first payment system is fully operational.

He said this at the first Consultative Forum of CEOs of African Banks which brought together executives of the continent’s commercial banks, bankers’ associations, payment switches, the association of African stock exchanges and other financial service providers.

The forum was organised jointly by the promoters of Papss, namely African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), African Union Commission (AUC) and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat.

Said Ogbalu: “Papss is fully operational and making rapid progress. We have signed on 13 African central banks, and connected over 115 commercial banks, and 10 payment switches across Africa.

“Another 115 commercial banks are in the pipeline for connection. Our foundation is solid, and the time has come for action and acceleration. It is time to use the system to drive trade in Africa, for Africans, by Africans. We urge all banks to join us in our collective effort to promote intra-African trade and development through Papss.”

The Papss CEO further said they are pleased to see overwhelming support for the platform at the forum by the leadership of the African financial institutions.

“Papss is a revolutionary initiative that has the potential to significantly transform the financial and payments landscape of our continent.
“As managers of Papss, we are committed to ensuring it succeeds. We urge all African financial institutions to join us in transforming the way payments are done in Africa.”

According to a statement shared by Afreximbank on Monday, May 13, participants reaffirmed their strong support to the decisions of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of States and Governments of 2019 and 2020 about the platform.

The 2019 decision adopted Papss as the African Financial Market Infrastructure for cross-border payments and settlements while the 2020 decision mandated Afreximbank, AUC and AfCFTA Secretariat to urgently introduce and scale up the implementation of Papss.

“The forum therefore provided an avenue for participants to deliberate on the successes and challenges of the Papss payment system and explore potential path forward on how it can be optimised to facilitate seamless and efficient cross-border payments to support the implementation of the AfCFTA,” reads the Afreximbank statement in part.

It further said following productive discussions, participants at the forum agreed to take collective ownership of the success and the future of Papss given its significant and hugely positive impact on the facilitation of cross-border payments and the development of intra-African trade.

“In addition, participants advocated toleverage Papss as a pathway to increasing the share of African currencies in intra-African trade and other cross-border payments, as well as increasing the volume of intra-regional payments for mutual benefits to drive rapid adoption of Papss by businesses,” it further reads.

Participants also agreed to embed Papss into their digital channels to enable ease of access and seamless integration for existing customers.

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