SIIPS 2023 Report reveals continued growth in Africa’s instant payment systems

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Mrs Huria Ali State Minister Ethiopia
Mrs Huria Ali State Minister Ethiopia

AfricaNenda has today released the second edition of the annual State of Inclusive Instant Payment Systems (SIIPS) in Africa report. Jointly produced with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the World Bank, the report highlights sustained growth in both the supply of instant payment systems and demand for their functionality.

This shows strong progress toward the aspirational goal of having comprehensive inclusive instant payment systems as part of Africa’s Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), creating a seamless digital ecosystem for people, businesses, and governments.

The SIIPS report was first launched by AfricaNenda in October 2022 to inform public and private sector stakeholders on the developments of instant payment system (IPS) in Africa, including an assessment of the inclusivity of such systems, with consumer insights and case studies. This year’s edition highlights further developments in the IPS landscape and includes a spotlight on cross border retail payments’ policy and regulatory harmonization in Africa.

Specific indicators of progress include:

Three new Instant Payments Systems (IPS) launched in Ethiopia, Morocco, and South Africa in the last twelve months; bringing the total number of live domestic and regional instant payment systems on the continent to 32. However, these systems are not all inclusive.

The volume of payments and the total value of payments processed has grown rapidly since 2018, by 47% and 39%, respectively. IPS in Africa facilitated nearly 32 billion transactions valued at approximately $1.2 trillion in 2022.

So far, only nine countries in Africa have access to a progressed Inclusive Instant Payment System IIPS through 3 domestic systems in Ghana, Malawi and Zambia and one regional system GIMACPAY in the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC).
“The remarkable growth of instant payment systems in Africa since last year is a testament to our collective commitment to driving positive change in the continent,” says Dr. Robert Ochola, AfricaNenda CEO. “AfricaNenda is working to ensure that Inclusive Instant Payment Systems become a driving force for economic prosperity for Africans. SIIPS 2023 shows that together, we’re shaping a future where digital financial inclusion knows no bounds.”

However, there are still challenges to achieving the goal of progressed to mature inclusivity in the ecosystem in Africa. To date, most of the live IPS are either unranked, due to lack of publicly available IPS performance data and information, or have reached only a basic level of inclusivity, meaning the IPS offers minimal channel functionality and only person-to-person P2P and person-to-business P2B transactions are supported. Twenty-seven countries have yet to set up a domestic instant payment system, although seventeen have plans on the way and three regional payment systems are also in development on the continent.

“The second edition of the SIIPS report underscores significant advancement in digital payments adoption across pivotal milestone for the effective realization of AfCFTA’s objectives. However, it is imperative to address the exigent requirement for establishment of trusted authentication systems that can work seamlessly across the continent through interoperable digital ID systems. ECA is eager to collaborate with AfricaNenda and other relevant stakeholders to actively support member states in the establishment of inclusive Digital Public Infrastructures, including these interoperable digital ID systems. This collaboration will enable secure, real-time, and comprehensive digital payments across the continent”. Dr. Mactar Seck, Chief of Section – Innovation and Technology, UNECA

The World Bank has launched Project FASTT (Frictionless Affordable Safe Timely Transactions) to accelerate the adoption of interoperable digital payments in Africa and across Emerging Markets and Developing Economies, as a driver for advancing financial inclusion, digital economy, efficient public programs and services, and improving cross-border payments. The SIIPS 2023 provides a snapshot of the status in Africa, the progress made, and the road ahead.” Alwaleed Alatabani, Practice Manager, Africa East Region, Finance,World Bank

The SIIPS Africa 2023 report includes a comprehensive map of live retail IPS, detailing essential information such as IPS types, use cases and channels. This edition spotlights four new case studies: eKash in Rwanda, Natswitch in Malawi, the Zambia National Financial Switch, as well as GIMAC the regional switch connecting all countries in the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). The report’s insights are also derived from surveys and in-depth interviews with digital payment experts, end-users and micro, small, and medium enterprises in urban and peri-urban areas of Cameroon, Malawi, Morocco, Rwanda, and Senegal. This collective data paints a holistic picture of the inclusivity of IPS in Africa.

Contributions from various central banks and IPS operators have significantly elevated the data quality of this second edition. We particularly thank the Bank of Ghana, the Central Bank of Kenya, the Central Bank of Madagascar, Banco de Moçambique, the National Bank of Rwanda, and the IPS operators in Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and CEMAC region for providing data to help close information gaps. With promising developments to deliver instant payment functionality to all Africans, the SIIPS 2023 report serves as a crucial resource.

 

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