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Pan-African payment system to deepen continental trade

By Geoff Iyatse
17 January 2022   |   4:07 am
Ghana President, Nana Akufo-Addo, hosted and presided over the commercial launch of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) in Accra, Ghana, on Friday, observing that the ground-breaking platform would save Africa ...

Nana Akufo-Addo Photo: Kola Sulaimon/AFP via Getty Images

Ghana President, Nana Akufo-Addo, hosted and presided over the commercial launch of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) in Accra, Ghana, on Friday, observing that the ground-breaking platform would save Africa more than $5 billion yearly in payment transaction costs while playing an increasingly significant role in accelerating the continent’s transactions.

Akufo-Addo, who was represented by his vice, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, complimented the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Secretariat for the establishment of the payment system citing PAPSS as a major leap in releasing the continent from overdependence on external players and factors in achieving a long-expected intra-continental trade and investment.

“This launch is a result of many months of hard work, resolve and commitment towards achieving set objectives for the growth of the continent in trade. All central banks in Africa must now join up and ensure seamless transfer of funds deploying this most practical and important African solution to an African problem,” Akufo-Addo noted.

He commented on the pan-African significance of Ghana hosting the event as a harbinger of the hard-won struggle for economic self-determination following the political decolonisation of the continent over 60 years ago.

PAPSS, developed by Afreximbank, is expected to boost intra-African trade by transforming and facilitating payment, clearing and settlement for cross-border trade across Africa.

President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, said: “We are eager to build upon the African Continental Free Trade Area’s creation of a single market throughout Africa, and PAPSS provides the state-of-the-art financial market infrastructure connecting African markets thereby enabling instant cross-border payments in respective local African currencies for cross-border trade.

“Afreximbank as the main settlement agent for PAPSS, provides settlement guarantees on the payment system and overdraft facilities to all settlement agents in partnership with Africa’s participating central banks. PAPSS will effectively eliminate Africa’s financial borders, formalise and integrate Africa’s payment systems, and play a major role in facilitating and accelerating the huge AfCFTA-induced growth curve in intra-African trade.”

Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, among others, also witnessed the launch.