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Five African multinational commercial banking groups embrace PAPSS payment platform

The adoption of PAPSS’s cutting-edge settlement model will streamline operations and empower businesses across Africa

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Five African multinational commercial banking groups including KCB Group, Standard Bank Group, UBA Group, Ecobank Group and Access Bank Group have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Afreximbank’s Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) to facilitate settlement of cross-border transactions across the African continent.

The MOUs were signed on June.19 at the opening ceremony of Afreximbank’s 30th Anniversary Celebrations and 30th Annual Meetings held in Accra, Ghana, in the presence of Heads of State and Prime Ministers from Africa and the Caribbean, Heads of continental policy and governance institutions as well as international institutions.

The signature of these Memorandums signifies a monumental step forward in the pursuit of seamless cross-border trade payments throughout the almost 40 countries covered by these Banks. The broad collaboration between African commercial banks and PAPSS will pave the way for enhanced efficiency, transparency, and reliability in intra-African settlement.

The adoption of PAPSS’s cutting-edge settlement model will streamline operations and empower businesses by providing a secure and technologically advanced platform for cross-border transactions.

As part of this partnership, KCB Group, Standard Bank Group, UBA Group, Ecobank Group and Access Bank Group will collaborate closely with PAPSS to ensure seamless integration of PAPSS into their existing systems. This collaborative effort will include opening up all their African footprints for PAPSS, facilitating settlement of transactions, encouraging the participation of Fintech in PAPSS via the banks and expanding PAPSS to all the banks’ current digital channels such as mobile app banking and e-banking.

Professor Benedict Oramah, the president of Afreximbank, said: “the signature of these MoUs marks a remarkable step towards the realisation of the aspirations of Africa’s foreleaders, who envisioned the creation of a payment and clearing union about six decades ago. It also draws us closer to domesticating cross-border payments by enabling payments for cross-border trade in African currencies while strengthening African currencies. By leveraging on the vast continental coverage of these African commercial banks, PAPSS will seamlessly facilitate cross-border trade and payments and boost intra-African trade and investments”.

Also commenting on the signing, Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the AfCFTA, said: “the introduction of the new PAPSS Model for onboarding African Commercial Banks and the signing of the MoUs with the five African Commercial Bank Groups signifies a bold step towards the full operationalisation of PAPSS for the benefit of African traders and SMEs in the implementation of the AfCFTA Agreement.”

The PAPSS Chief Executive Officer, Mike Ogbalu III, expressed enthusiasm about these collaborations, stating that “these partnerships with Access Bank Group, Ecobank Group, KCB Group, Standard Bank Group, and UBA Group mark a significant milestone in the journey toward a more integrated and efficient African banking landscape. By embracing PAPSS’ Commercial Bank Settlement Model, these banks are helping build a robust continental platform for fostering cross-border payments, thereby paving the way for financial inclusion and substantial continental economic development.”

These MOUs will be put into effect gradually in partnership with central banks in the countries where the 5 Group Banks operate. Customers of the banks in Africa will be informed through the usual channels of communication as soon as the service becomes available in their countries. PAPSS and the banks will be working towards making this service available towards year-end.

Latest statistics from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development indicates that the share of intra-African exports as a percentage of total African exports has increased from about 10 percent in 1995 to around 17 percent in 2017, but it remains low compared to levels in Europe (69 percent).

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