On 20-22 June over 500 leading financial services executives from over 40 countries across Africa meet to discuss innovation, technology and the future of financial services in Kigali, Rwanda.
As part of the afternoon workshop hosted by BankservAfrica on 21 June, Cenfri’s Technical Director Barry Cooper is giving the participants insights into our latest research on the market barriers to domestic and cross-border payments in sub-Saharan Africa. He is also participating in a panel together with representatives from the National Bank of Rwanda, the South African Reserve Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, SWIFT and BankservAfrica on the regional opportunity to build payment systems for connected economies and financial inclusion.
The evolution of National Payment Systems for inclusive financial communities needs to happen now by addressing and solving payment issues of today while preparing for the future. A year has passed since BankservAfrica started the conversation in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on the need for great national payments system design for the modernisation of payments and what this meant from a global and regional aspect. During this period, they participated in discussions in the region on what countries need to consider to address their national payment system requirements for modernisation and who needs to participate.
The workshop convenes regulators, heads of payment, CEOs, COOs, CIOs, digital innovators, industry bodies and anyone interested in design of national payments infrastructure to support the economy as it grows – economic policymakers, central bankers, banking and payments associations and senior bankers.
Barry asks the question whether the recent efforts in national payment system design in the region are suitable for the changed context of the 21st century with the rapid development in the digital economy space. He highlights the main market barriers to effective domestic and cross-border payments collected through literature and stakeholder interviews, both in the first/last as well as the middle mile. Examples from SIRESS, Nigeria, WEAMU and regional hubs highlight the positive developments on the continent and showcase that domestic payment system design should be orientated towards regional integration to facilitate scale and interoperability.