By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Chief Executive Officer of Ecobank Group, Jeremy Awori and Chief Executive Officer of Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), Mike Ogbalu III, on Monday June 19 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), to facilitate transaction of cross-border payment across Africa.
The MoU was signed during the opening ceremony of the 30th Afreximbank Annual Meeting (AAM) held in Accra, Ghana, honoured by the presence of H.E. Nana Akufo Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and other African Heads of States, Professor Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the AfCFTA and many other dignitaries.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Jeremy Awori said the partnerships are essential for the delivery and success of the AfCFTA and for the financial integration and economic development of our continent. We are committed to the success of PAPSS and are pleased to bring on board our payments and collections expertise from our African coverage of 33 markets and the partnership ensures that all partner banks and PAPSS can expand their reach rapidly and enable greater and wider intra-African trade.
“Today, we begin to change and rewrite the narrative of low intra-African trade by removing the barrier to efficient and instant payments and collections in African currencies,” he said.
Mike Ogbalu III, said having the cooperation of Ecobank Group, one of the major banks in Africa, is a huge honour, but more importantly, it shows that PAPSS is the payment system that will transform the way that people in Africa conduct cross-border transactions.
Established by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, PAPSS is a financial market infrastructure that provides a secure and efficient channel for processing cross-border payments, ensuring speed, affordable cost, and reliability in order to facilitate intra-African trade.
During the ceremony, PAPSS also introduced the Commercial Bank Settlement Model, a new settlement model which offers the commercial banks a window to open and fund their own settlement accounts at Afreximbank and manage their own liquidity according to their banking needs.
According to a press statement, by leveraging the capabilities of PAPSS, Ecobank affiliates in 33 countries with over 32 million customers, will streamline and expedite the transfer of funds while ensuring transparency and compliance under the Regulators supervision and additionally, the partnership aligns with the African Union’s vision of promoting intra-African trade and economic integration through enhanced financial connectivity. By leveraging their combined expertise, Ecobank and PAPSS are poised to contribute to the growth and development of the African economy.
The statement noted that, the partnership, will help Ecobank Group and its subsidiaries to gain access to PAPSS’s cutting-edge platform, enabling them to seamlessly settle cross-border transactions and by eliminating the complexities associated with traditional payment systems, the bank will be able to provide its customers with a more convenient and streamlined experience, facilitating increased trade and economic cooperation across Africa.
They also stated that the MoU will be put into effect gradually in partnership with the Central Banks in the countries where Ecobank Group operates. Customers in Africa will be informed through the usual channels of communications as soon as the service becomes available in their countries. PAPSS and Ecobank Group will be working towards making this service available as from January 2024.