Mr Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, says 38 countries have now deposited their instrument of ratification of the agreement establishing the AfCFTA. Mene also added that AfCFTA is working on a pilot phase of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) which is ongoing in six West African countries, to facilitate the implementation of the agreement.

The AfCFTA boss disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja on an official visit to the country, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

On ratification

The Secretary-General said: “We are still waiting for others to ratify the agreement. But I am not worried that we are about 38 because in ratifying any international instrument, processes including legal and political processes needed to be followed for a country to be in a state of readiness.”

“There are countries that are ready with custom’s infrastructure that is required to be able to trade in a commercial and meaningful sense, examples are South Africa, Egypt, Ghana and Kenya. These are countries that have introduced the necessary customs procedures for the trading to start happening.”

On the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS)

Mene stated that the AfCFTA started a piloting phase of the Pan-African payment and settlement platform of six countries in West Africa that have switched on to the platform. “Transactions are already happening within these six countries that are at an advanced stage of the pilot project. So, the platform will make a significant contribution and our estimate is that it will reduce the cost of transactions by five billion Dollars annually, being the aggregate amount that is spent on currency convertibility,” he said.

He added that when the system is fully up and running, users will be able to transact with somebody in Kenya in Naira and they will receive Kenyan Shillings with AfreximBank as the correspondent facility.

What you should know

The Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), developed by the AfreximBank is the first centralised payment market infrastructure for processing, clearing and settling of intra-African trade and commerce payments.

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