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CBG give updates on Pan-African payment, settlement system

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By Tabora Bojang

The Central Bank of the Gambia (CBG) has said plans are in progress to implement the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) in the Gambia.

The system is expected to boost intra-African trade by facilitating payment, clearing and settlement for cross border trade using local African currencies.

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Launched in 2022, PAPSS aims to accelerate and support the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which is designed to support the creation of a single liberalised market in Africa and facilitate investment and development of regional infrastructure to promote trade within the continent.

Since inception, the system has made meaningful gains to ensure full integration of the West African Monetary Zone which include Central Banks in Gambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The signatory apex banks would provide a payment and settlement service to which commercial banks and other license payment service providers can connect as participants.

In a statement read on his behalf at the Community of African Bank Supervisors conference in Banjul Thursday, Governor Buah Saidy said the Central Bank of The Gambia remains committed to the full implementation of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement platform. He said a recent test of the country’s commercial banks’ connectivity to the platform indicated positive outcomes.

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Governor Saidy, who doubles as the chairperson of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB), averred that the CBG is steadfast in its commitment to the ideals of effective financial and economic integration of African economies, which, he said, will go a long way in cementing the already cordial relationships between member states.

“(We) will never relent until African financial systems are highly integrated to facilitate trade settlement of transactions between our countries. PAPSS is billed to transform our payment system platforms, hence revolutionising the way we conduct trade and settlement of our transactions between us. It is anticipated that it will boost intra-regional trade between our countries, with payments effected through domestic currencies, while net settlements are in Dollars,” he added.

Banking sector

He informed delegates that the banking system in the Gambia remains resilient and well capitalised with a “risk-weighted capital adequacy ratio of 24.8 percent in December 2022, higher than the regulatory threshold of 10 percent while the liquidity ratio stood at 63.7 percent above the prescribed standard of 30 percent.”

He also described the commercial banks asset quality ratio as impressive, with the non-performing loans ratio registering modest improvements, declining from 5.2 percent in December 2021 to 4.6 percent in December 2022.

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