NGX, PAPSS to enhance cross-border payments, market liquidity
Lagos. Thursday, 2 March 2023: Nigerian Exchange Limited (“NGX” or “The Exchange”) and the Pan African Payment and Settlement System (“PAPSS”) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate cross-border payments and settlement of transactions of securities within countries integrated under the African Exchanges Linkage Project (AELP) on Tuesday, 28 February 2023.
Developed by Afreximbank and adopted by the African Union as the key instrument for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), PAPSS is a centralized Financial Market Infrastructure that enables the efficient flow of money securely across African borders, minimizing risk and contributing to financial integration across the regions. Already operating in the countries of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) namely Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Gambia, Guinea; PAPSS has been identified by stakeholders as the payment system to further enhance the AELP and curtail inefficiencies.
The President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank, Professor Benedict Oramah noted, “Facilitating African Capital Markets cross-border payments is also critical to us because we cannot control our future if we don’t control our capital. PAPSS and NGX partnership comes at a very opportune time when the Investment Protocol of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has just been approved by the African Heads of States and Governments at the last African Union Summit in Addis Ababa. With PAPSS being the infrastructure that facilitate those flows, we reaffirm our commitment to work with NGX and also with ASEA to ensure that we integrate the African Capital Markets.”
The Chairman, NGX, Mr Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, OON, while giving the welcome remarks stated, “Investors will enjoy a more efficient and cost-effective way of investing in African securities, thus promoting regional integration and boosting trade flows. This will enhance economic growth and development across the continent, ultimately leading to the creation of jobs, and poverty reduction. Furthermore, the integration of PAPSS will encourage other African countries to sign up to use the system, which will result in a more interconnected and integrated African capital market.”
Commenting on the signing, the Chief Executive Officer, NGX, Mr. Temi Popoola said NGX has taken a significant step towards creating a more efficient and seamless regional capital market ecosystem that would unlock its full potential, adding that the Exchange remains committed to forging stronger flows of capital across African stock exchanges. “Data consistently shows that local capital is extremely critical to driving and developing the stable and less volatile capital markets. A major challenge all cross-border payment mechanisms currently face is the lack of local convertibility of currencies which hinders the flow of capital. This is where the collaboration between NGX and PAPSS comes in. We are of the firm belief that this integration of PAPSS into the African capital markets will reduce a lot of this friction and deepen the flow of capital within the continent.”
The Chief Executive Officer of PAPSS, Mr. Mike Ogbalu III also commented that “African stock exchanges play an important role in driving trade, as they provide a platform for companies to raise capital. This allows companies to access a larger pool of capital, which can be used to fund expansion and growth. Furthermore, it encourages foreign investors to invest in African companies, which increases the flow of capital into the continent. This collaboration with NGX will ultimately lead to the development of a more vibrant and integrated African Capital Market. We are committed to support African stock exchanges in their efforts to facilitate cross-border investments, therefore we invited the other African Stock Exchanges to also leverage on PAPSS to enable the seamless movement of capital across African markets”.
Delivering his goodwill message, the Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr Lamido Yuguda said, “The signing of the agreement is a significant milestone in line with the revised Capital Market Masterplan. The Commission will support all initiatives to enhance the integrity and efficiency of the capital market.”
Commending the initiative, the President, African Securities Exchange Association (ASEA), Mr Thalepo Tsheole urged the further integration of PAPSS across stock exchanges in the continent. “Through the umbrella of ASEA, with 9 exchanges and a combined market capitalization of $1.5 trillion, PAPSS could be instrumental to the actualization of African Exchanges Linkage Project.”
The Pan-African Payment and Settlement System – PAPSS is a centralized Financial Market Infrastructure that enables the efficient flow of money securely across African borders, minimizing risk and contributing to financial integration across the regions. PAPSS works in collaboration with Africa’s central banks to provide a payment and settlement service to which commercial banks and licensed payment service providers across the region can connect as ‘Participants’. Afreximbank and the African Union (“AU”) first announced PAPSS at the Twelfth Extraordinary Summit of the African Union held on July 7, 2019, in Niamey, Niger Republic, therefore adopting PAPSS as a key instrument for the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). Further, in its thirteenth (13th) extraordinary session, held on the December 5, 2020, the assembly of African Union recommitted and instructed the Afreximbank and the AfCFTA secretariat to finalize among others, work on the Pan-African Payments and Settlements System (PAPSS). The 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the AU, further directed the AfCFTA and Afreximbank to deploy the system to cover the entire continent. PAPSS was officially launched in Accra, Ghana on January 13, 2022, thus making it available for use by the public.
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