The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and AfCFTA Secretariat announced the operational roll-out of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), a Financial Market Infrastructure to enable instant, cross-border payments in local currencies between African markets.
By simplifying cross-border transactions and reducing the dependency on hard currencies for these transactions, PAPSS is set to boost intra-African trade significantly and underpin the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
PAPSS will serve as a continent-wide platform for the processing, clearing and settling of intra-African trade and commerce payments, leveraging a multilateral net settlement system. Its full implementation is expected to save the continent more than $5 billion in payment transaction costs each year.
Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank and Chairman person of PAPSS Management Board, said: “With the implementation of PAPSS, Africa can expect to begin to reap the fruits of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. Afreximbank is proud to have contributed in the realization of the multi-decade dream that seemed unachievable just a few years ago. PAPSS is not positioned to replace existing regional and national payment systems but to collaborate and work with them in better integrating African economies for the benefit of all. We thank the African Union, the AfCFTA Secretariat, the West African Monetary Institute and African Central banks for a remarkable outcome.”
The development of a pan-African payments infrastructure has been made possible by some of the continent’s leading institutions. The platform has been developed by Afreximbank, who also acts as the main Settlement Agent in partnership with participating African Central banks. The implementation of the infrastructure is taking place in collaboration with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat with the endorsement of the African Union (AU).
The commissioning of PAPSS follows a successful pilot phase in the countries of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), with live transactions done in an instant. The West Africa Monetary Institute (WAMI) collaborated with Afreximbank in launching the system in the WAMZ. This an important milestone for the continent and PAPSS is now engaged in advanced discussions with other national and regional institutions to rapidly expand continent-wide connectivity. Afreximbank provides settlement guarantees on the payment system and overdraft facilities to all settlement agents. To accelerate expansion and ensure settlement finality, Afreximbank has approved $500 million to support the clearing and settlement in West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) countries. It is estimated that a further $3 billion will be made available to support the systems continent-wide implementation.
Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area, said: “The implementation of the Agreement establishing the AfCFTA will improve intra-Africa trade, necessitating in this regard, the establishment of a payment system to facilitate affordable and efficient cross border trade transactions. It is on this basis that the AfCFTA Secretariat strongly supports the development of a Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that will usher in a new phase in the African economic trajectory. The introduction of PAPSS provides Africa with greater capacity to conduct cross-border transactions and expand the scale of both active and latent opportunities for enhanced intra-African trade.”