Access, Ecobank, Others Sign Deal To Revolutionise Cross-Border Transactions

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Access Bank, UBA, Ecobank Group, and others have agreed with the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPPS) to revolutionise the settlement of cross-border transactions across Africa, leveraging the vast network of subsidiaries and representative offices in the region.

The deal, which was sealed recently at Afreximbank’s 30th-anniversary celebrations held in Accra, Ghana, signified a major step forward in the pursuit of seamless cross-border trade payments throughout almost 40 countries covered by these banks.

The collaboration would 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 secured and technologically advanced platform for cross-border transactions.

This collaborative effort would 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.

Commenting on the signing, Professor Benedict Oramah, 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.”

Speaking on the synergy, the Secretary General of the AfCFTA, H.E. Wamkele Mene 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.”

In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer of PAPSS, Mike Ogbalu, expressed enthusiasm about the synergy, noting that it marks 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 five bank groups 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,” he added.

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