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‘Pan-African payments system’ll eliminate $5bn transaction cost’

The $5 billion transaction cost incurred by African nations annually due to the proliferation of currencies on the continent would be eliminated once the Africa Eximbank and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat complete work on the Pan-African Payments and Settlement System (PAPSS).

Secretary General of Af- CFTA Secretariat, Wamkele Mene, stated this in Accra recently. Mene, who hinted that work on the PAPSS was nearing completion, said that when the the pan African trading system takes off, member nations would be able to transact business without any hindrance,adding that they will be assisted with other technological platforms the secretariat is deploying. He said: “We have 42 currencies in Africa and anytime we want to trade among ourselves, one has to change their currency into the dollar and the recipient will change the dollar into their local currency, a situation which costs about $5 billion, which is moved out of Africa annually. “Africa needs to industrialise to create jobs.

The population is young and growing fast, and with a population of about 1.3 billion, it is the second highest of any region after Asia. Due to rapid rural-urban migration the population in cities will triple by 2050. “It was estimated that the African labour force would swell by more than 170 million people between 2010 and 2020.

If there are no productive jobs for these people, the fight against poverty will be lost given that the most important determinant of whether someone in Africa is in poverty, or not, is whether they have a job.” According to statement on AfCFTA Secretariat’s website: “PAPSS is a centralised payment and settlement infrastructure for intra-African trade and commerce payments.

This project which is being developed in collaboration with the African Export- Import Bank, Afreximbank will facilitate payments as well as formalise some of the unrecorded trade due to prevalence of informal cross-border trade in Africa. “It will also provide alternative to current high-cost and lengthy correspondent banking relationships to facilitate trade and other economic activities among African countries through a simple, low-cost and risk-controlled payment clearing and settlement system. “The benefits of PAPPS for cross-border payments include cost reduction; reduction in duration and time variability; decreasing liquidity requirements of commercial banks; decreasing liquidity requirements of central banks for settlement as well as its own payments; and strengthening central banks’ oversight of cross border payment systems.”

 

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