The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretary-General, Wamkele Mene, has charged businesses within the continent to encourage banks and payment service providers to use the Pan African Payments and Settlement System (PAPSS) platform so as to enhance intra-Africa trade.
According to him, PAPSS is expected to significantly enhance processing speed, clearing and settling of intra-African trade and payments through effective collaboration of multilateral net settlement systems; hence the need for players within the payment systems to embrace the platform .
“We have to encourage our banking community to use the Pan African Payments and Settlement System. We have to encourage our regulators – mobile technology regulators – to enable cross-border payments on mobile technology, mobile banking technology, so that on your phone you can transact with somebody in Togo. This will require our regulators to adopt the framework that we have established for ease of payments to ensure we boost intra-African trade,” he said.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe-Ghana Business Forum in Accra organised by ZimTrade, the National trade development and promotion organisation of the Republic of Zimbabwe, he said ensuring currency compatibility among African countries is key to developing safe trade and encouraging trade among African countries
Emphasizing the importance of a common payment platform for boosting intra-African trade, the Secretary-General said the continent loses about US$5billion due to challenges regarding payment between African countries that engage in trade.
He added that PAPSS was developed to eliminate the cost involved in converting currencies.
He noted that AfCFTA presents various opportunities through the elimination or reduction of barriers to intra-African trade, and encourages Africa’s self-sufficiency.
The forum sought to create an avenue for companies in various sectors of Zimbabwe’s economy to establish partnerships with their Ghanaian counterparts. About 15 representatives from businesses from major sectors in the Zimbabwean economy attended the event.
“We expect linkages, collaborations and business deals and negotiations to happen out of the B2B meetings that we have organised. We have arranged for the delegation from Zimbabwe to meet with their counterparts in Ghana to discuss business opportunities,” said Export Promotion Manager at ZimTrade, Vuyiswa Mafu.
According to her, the decision to organise the forum in Ghana was aimed at enabling businesses from the two countries to explore mutually beneficial opportunities under the AfCFTA.
She invited the Ghanaian business community to visit Zimbabwe and also explore opportunities there.
Former Minister for Food and Agriculture, Dr. Afriyie Akoto, commended ZimTrade for the initiative. He said it presents another opportunity for both countries to find lasting solutions to business sustainability and growth impediments.
“Let me take this opportunity to commend ZimTrade for taking this step to come into the Ghanaian market. Let me assure all that there is a real need for such an event to bring business people together to promote trade between our countries to achieve the needed level of benefit for us all,” he said.