West Africa plans integrated ATM card payment platform

Posted: July 10, 2013 in general

ecowasPlans have reached advanced stage for the introduction of a central sub-regional payment platform which would see Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards work in outlets in Nigeria, Ghana as well as in French speaking countries Cape Verde.

Making the disclosure to the Ghana News Agency, weekend, Mr Archie Hesse, Chief Executive of Ghana Inter-Bank Payment And Settlement System (GhIPSS), managers of Ghana’s payment system, said member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had planned to have a central West African payment platform.

According to Hesse, this will be possible through the integration of the payment systems of Ghana, Nigeria, Cape Verde and the zone of West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA).

Continuing, Hesse, said to ensure the early commencement of the payment systems, GhIPSS was asked to develop the governance and regulatory framework, while GIM-UEMOA was asked to deal with the infrastructure and security framework, while the Nigeria Inter-Bank and Settlement System, on the other hand, were given the responsibility to develop marketing and communication framework.

Hesse, however, pointed out that it was also agreed that a pilot platform be rolled out by integrating the four payment systems, after which the remaining countries will be joined to a central platform.

The project, which is significantly advanced, is part of a central sub-regional payment system that is being driven by the ECOWAS.

When the project becomes fully implemented, it is anticipated that it would boost cross border trade, as traders, businessmen and women as well other travellers from the participating countries, can access money from their bank accounts back home using their local ATM cards.

Hesse said in view of work already done, it was technically possible for local ATM cards from Ghana to worked into the ATM outlets and point of sales devices in Nigerian as well as Francophone West Africa and vice versa.

He explained that modalities to guide the settlement of the inter-country payments as well as other regulatory framework must be put in place before the system is made available to the general public.

According to Hesse Nigeria, Cape Verde and the UEMOA zone have already expressed the hope that the project takes off soon.

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