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Pan-African Payment & Settlement System (PAPSS) Hosts its Inaugural Bank Chief Executive Officers Consultative Forum

 Olushola Bello

Promoters of the Pan-African Payment & Settlement System (PAPSS), namely African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank or “the Bank”), African Union Commission (AUC) and African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, successfully organized the first Consultative Forum of CEOs of African Banks bringing together executives of African commercial banks, bankers’ associations, payment switches, the association of African stock exchanges and other financial service providers.

Participants reaffirmed their strong support to the decisions of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of States and Governments of 2019 and 2020. 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.

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

Mr. Mike Ogbalu III, Chief Executive Officer of PAPSS, stated: “PAPSS is fully operational and making rapid progress. We have signed on thirteen African Central Banks, and connected over 115 commercial banks, and ten 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.”

Further commenting, Mr. Ogbalu said: “We are pleased to see overwhelming support of this 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.”

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