Access Bank Plc and The Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to facilitate settlement of the Group’s cross-border transactions through PAPSS, including the transactions of all their subsidiaries.
The MoU was signed on Monday 19 June 2023 during the 30th Afreximbank Annual Meeting (AAM) opening ceremony held in Accra, Ghana – honoured by the presence of Nana Akufo-Addo, president of the Republic of Ghana and other African Heads of State; Professor Benedict Oramah, president of Afreximbank; Wamkele Mene, Secretary-General of the AfCFTA and many other dignitaries.
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 that offers commercial banks a window to open and fund their own settlement accounts at Afreximbank and manage their own liquidity according to their banking needs
By leveraging the capabilities of PAPSS, Access Bank affiliates in more than 18 countries and 700 branches with over 60 million customers will streamline and expedite the transfer of funds while ensuring transparency and compliance under the regulator’s supervision.
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, Access Bank and PAPSS are poised to contribute in growth and development of the African economy.
Commenting on the signing, Deputy Managing Director-Access Bank Plc, Victor Etuokwu said: “As a global brand with African heritage, driven by the purpose of making banking a positive force in Africa and beyond, we are committed to empowering African economies and promoting sustainable growth. We want to develop the society around us, supporting local entrepreneurs and investing in communities. This is why we partnered with Afreximbank’s PAPSS to facilitate intra-African trade and payments within Africa using local currencies of send and receive countries.
“This aims to facilitate and promote a more efficient payment and settlement of transactions across borders, improving the payment landscape in Africa. Leveraging our reach through the PAPSS platform, we will be offering seamless trade payments to our over-60m customers across all operations.
“Access Bank Nigeria has now begun receiving inflows through the PAPSS platform, making it one of the first banks in Nigeria to do so. Meanwhile, other countries in the WAMZ (West Africa Monetary Zone) region where PAPSS is being piloted – such as Ghana, Guinea, Gambia, Cameroon and Sierra Leone – are currently undergoing governance requirements and will soon begin integrating the system. By end of the year, additional subsidiaries will be in various stages of onboarding to the PAPSS platform. We strongly believe in the continent’s potential and are dedicated to driving positive change to create a lasting impact,” Victor concluded.
The Chief Executive Officer-PAPSS, Mr. Mike Ogbalu III said: “We are thrilled to have Access Bank as a strategic partner in our mission to enhance cross-border payments across Africa. Access Bank’s extensive network and commitment to innovation align perfectly with our objectives. Together, we can leverage our expertise to drive financial integration across the continent and unlock the full potential of intra-African trade”.
Through this collaboration, Access Bank Group will simplify the payment landscape and ensure that cross-border transactions are conducted seamlessly for the benefit of its customers.
This MoU will be put into effect gradually, in partnership with central banks in the countries where Access Bank operates. Customers of Access Bank in Africa will be informed through the usual channels of communication as soon as the service becomes available in their countries. PAPSS and Access Bank will be working toward making this service available as from January 2024.