William Ruto commits to a pan-African payment system

 President William Ruto during the signing of the Sh400 billion financing program between Kenya and AfriExim Bank at State House Nairobi on Tuesday May 2, 2023. [PCS]

President William Ruto has said Kenya will rally for a Pan-African payment system that will allow transactions across markets regardless of currency differences.

The move, the Head of State said, will enable Kenya, and the rest of the African countries to maximise trade opportunities that exist under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).

President Ruto lamented the bottlenecks that exist in cross-payment, citing them as a hindrance to the growth of enterprises and businesses in the continent.

“It should be possible for us to sell, do business and trade with African countries without minding their currencies,” he said.

President Ruto said through AfCTA, the African market is already consolidated, and in this exists great opportunities.   

“That is the possibility that the pan-African payment system gives us and Kenya will champion it so that we eliminate the roadblocks and hurdles that businesses and entrepreneurs face.”

The AfCTA envisions the existence of a Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) which it describes as a centralised financial market infrastructure enabling an efficient and secure flow of money across Africa.

It should enable transferring money, paying salaries, dealing in stocks and shares, or making high-value business transactions with the aim of cutting costs.

As at June 2022, the PAPSS network consisted of eight central banks, 28 commercial banks, and six switches. All central banks are expected to have signed up by the end of the year and all commercial banks have up to the end of 2025. The Central Bank of Kenya is not among them.

The President was speaking during the launch of Fingo, an application by Ecobank, which will enable individuals to transact across the African market where the bank has jurisdiction. The app also allows customers to open accounts without visiting the bank physically and start transacting.

Ecobank operates in 33 markets in the continent and customers will be able to send and receive money across the markets through Fingo. Ecobank is a member of PAPSS as a commercial bank. Ecobank Group Chief Executive Jeremy Awori said the app targets the youth who want an exciting and convenient product. 

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