Access Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) to enhance cross-border payment in Africa.
The agreement was signed in Accra, Ghana at the 30th annual meetings of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in Accra.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, Victor Etuokwu, deputy managing director, retail North said, “The agreement we signed today was the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), you know, the continent is putting together a payment infrastructure to mobilise resources to drive intra-African trade.
He said together with that transaction is the PAPSS agreement, a cross-border financial infrastructure set up to facilitate payment across the continent.
Etuokwu said Access Bank has traders, businesses, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in every country of the continent, trading with their counterparts in other parts of the continent and that PAPSS provides a platform where payment can be done without the need for dollar as a currency that enables payment.
He said before now, the payment routes in Africa were largely colonial and that was why, “if you want to make a payment from Nigeria to Gabon, or to Congo, it has to go first out of Africa to Europe before it comes back to Africa. That costs more money, more time and it is very inefficient.”
According to him, what the African Union has done is wisdom, to build a payment and settlement system to enable convenient, easy, faster way of payment across the continent.
“So, it is cheaper and faster and no longer requires the dollar as the enabling currency. We are now able to transfer money across the continent in local currency. This removes the dependence of dollars as the currency of exchange even among Africa,” he said.
“What PAPSS does is that it provides a platform where payment can be done without the need for dollars as a currency that enables payment. It is in line with the founders of the African Union. They had in mind a free trade area, the ability to transact within the continent without the third currency and this is in line with the dream of the founding fathers of Africa.
“Access Bank is a major player in this. We are not only a party to this settlement but also a liquidity provider. Should any Central Bank in the continent not want to play that role, we have now pulled ourselves as a leader in this continent to play that role of providing liquidity for this to happen seamlessly across the continent,” he said.