COMESA Banks’ Governors Push for Regional Payment and Settlement System

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Committee of Governors of Central Banks wants all COMESA member countries to fully utilize the Regional Payment and Settlement System.

In their 22nd Meeting that took place in Bujumbura, Burundi 29- 30 March 2017, the Governors appreciated the progress that has been achieved in the implementation of the system with nine countries now live on the Regional Payment and Settlement System (REPSS).

REPSS is a Multilateral Netting System with end-of-day settlement in a single currency that provides a single gateway for Central Banks within the region to effect payment in a multi-currency environment. Importers and exporters are therefore able to pay and receive payment for goods and services through an efficient and cost effective platform thus increase intra-regional trade.

Governor of Central Bank of Burundi Mr. Jean CIZA, while speaking at the meeting, appreciated the success that has been achieved by COMESA in monetary cooperation and urged member countries that went live on REPSS to fully utilize the system.

“I urge those countries that are not in the system to put more effort to go live,” Mr Ciza said while commending the COMESA Monetary Institute (CMI) for its capacity building initiatives that have helped Central Banks’ staff to get practical skills in macroeconomic management and assessment of financial system stability.During the forum, the Governors discussed the activities that were undertaken by CMI and the COMESA Clearing House (CCH), the progress made and challenges encountered in the implementation of the COMESA Monetary Integration Programme.

They agreed that pursuing appropriate macroeconomic policies and accelerating regional integration are crucial to address the development deficit in the structural transformation in COMESA region.

“Macroeconomic convergence and financial system development and stability, which are within mandates of the COMESA Committee of Governors of Central Banks, will make trade and investment as easy as possible,” the governors noted.

In his remarks, the Secretary General of COMESA, Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya described the CMI and CCH as important instruments for developing a policy and institutional framework to enhance monetary integration in the region.

“Modern economies are increasingly based on knowledge,” he stressed. “As a knowledge, learning and innovation-based organization; COMESA needs to make a paradigm shift in order to ensure that there is more focus on results rather than on processes.”

Mr. Ngwenya underscored the importance of business to business linkages, the diversification of member countries’ economies, focusing on agro-led industrialization, green growth through greening the financial system and using of online trading platforms. He said that Central Banks have a big role to play given the enormous investment needs to bring these transformations in our economies.

Madame Niyonkuru Pelate, the Burundi Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, in her statement, emphasized the importance of continuing to implement measures to boost domestic demand, diversify production and trade and promote rapid expansion in intra-COMESA trade.

She said: “Monetary integration is critical for the establishment of a dynamic common market and hence the importance of speedy implementation of REPSS in order to achieve significant increase in intra-COMESA trade.”

Governors and Experts from the Central Banks of Burundi, DR Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe attended the meeting. Also in attendance were chief executives of the CMI, CCH and the Association of African Central Banks (AACB