All about Payments in Africa

February 2024

The report, "All About Payments in Africa," encapsulates the dynamic shifts and challenges within the African payments sector. It navigates through the adoption of ISO20022, the intricacies of cross-border, instant, and mobile payments, and the continent's quest for financial integration. With a focus on overcoming fragmentation and embracing digital transformation, the report highlights key developments and the impact of regulatory hurdles. Serving as a concise guide, it reflects on Africa's potential to revolutionize its payments ecosystem, aiming for a future marked by inclusivity and efficiency. This is a pivotal read for anyone keen on the evolving narrative of payments in Africa.


Africa summary

Northern Africa

Middle Africa

Western Africa

Southern Africa

Eastern Africa

Global Glossary of payments


There is a lot going on in Africa in the payments domain. Lots of breakthroughs and lots of challenges. If you could summarize it in a phrase that would be 'It’s complicated'. For a start, Africa is fragmented and strives to unite and cooperate. It has 8 Regional Economic Communities (UMA, COMESA, CEN-SAD, EAC, ECCAS, ECOWAS, IGAD, SADC), 2 Monetary Unions (WAEMU/UEMOA, CEMAC) and a Monetary Zone WAMZ (no common currency).

One of the main struggles in the African payments industry is the ongoing fragmentation in the payments market between ISO 8583 and ISO 20022. ISO 8583, an older standard designed for the pre-internet era, does not as easily support modern communication technologies. This has led to a situation where large banks are more likely to adopt ISO 20022, while non-bank participant Payment Service Providers (PSPs) may not have adopted it as widely, possibly due to costs, especially for smaller PSPs​​.

PSPs can face significant costs when integrating and translating messages across entities and countries with disparate standards, such as translating from ISO 20022 to ISO 8583 or proprietary standards (BIS 2022b).

According to SIIPS (The State of Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems in Africa Report, 2023) “The use of the ISO 20022 standard for messaging is on the rise. Of the 21 systems accessed, 10 domestic IPS as well as PAPSS and TCIB use the ISO 20022 messaging standard. Six IPS use the ISO 8583 standard. Nigeria’s NIP and e-Naira, and Tanzania’s TIPS developed proprietary messaging standards. NIP and NFS Zambia (currently using ISO 8583) plan to migrate to ISO 20022 in the future”. It is important to add that Zambia's RTGS system ZIPSS transitioned to the ISO20022 messaging standard on October 14, 2023. Also GimacPay, the digital payment platform in Central Africa, facilitating electronic transactions across national borders within the CEMAC (Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa) zone, will transition to ISO 20022 protocol soon.

WAEMU - the monetary union between eight mainly francophone West African states - planned IPS will include an API integration layer to increase ease and lower costs for participants that are not ISO 20022 certified. Members of this regional IPS are Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

“Operational barriers for cross-border payments include inconsistent messaging standards, stringent requirements set by correspondent banks, expensive liquidity management, and costly and opaque foreign exchange pricing” (BIS 2022b). “Upgrading to ISO 20022 is complex and costly. Differing mandated messaging standard frameworks between jurisdictions can complicate interoperability, particularly between countries with nascent financial sectors and those with significant investment in legacy infrastructure, found to varying degrees across EAC and SADC. Countries with significant fintech programs—including Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, and South Africa—must contend with gaps between innovative, proprietary messaging and interoperable, cross-border, ISO-based messaging. Format validation is performed at distinct stages down the chain between senders and recipients. Even one missing colon could cause the transfer to fail. The complexities between different standards require integrating layers that add new potential points of failure and can be both operationally challenging and costly”. (SIIPS 2023)

Another challenge for cross-border payments is the foreign exchange control requirements that make it hard for some payment service providers to send money to other countries. These rules mean that before PSPs can make cross-border payments, they often need to get permission from regulators or the government. This can depend on where the money is going or how much is being sent. For example, in the WAEMU region, sending money outside requires using a local bank and showing documents. Most of the time, these transactions have to go through bank branches or specific currency exchange dealers. Some places also try to control the exchange rate very strictly, which can make things costly for PSPs that send money across borders. In Nigeria, for instance, strict controls on exchange rates triggered by declines in oil prices and foreign exchange earnings, have created big differences between official and unofficial exchange rates, affecting the business of sending money to other countries.(World Bank 2017a)

Against all challenges initiatives are born. Pan African Payment and Settlement Systems (PAPSS) platform operates hand in hand with central banks, enabling direct exchanges among over forty different currencies across the continent. Essentially, PAPSS makes it possible for African currencies to be exchanged within the continent itself, bypassing the need for intermediary currencies such as the dollar, euro, or pound. This reliance on external currencies not only introduces considerable delays but also incurs hefty expenses from the conversion operations. According to AfCFTA, the continent of Africa spends up to $5 billion every year on costs associated with currency conversion. Important to note that as of Feb 2024, the PAPSS network consists of 12 central banks, 51 commercial banks and 5 switches. All Central banks are to sign up by the end of 2024 and all commercial banks by the end of 2025. PAPSS is an African Union infrastructure developed in collaboration with Afreximbank to complement trading under the AfCFTA agreement.

For Arab African countries, there is BUNA, a cross‑border payment system which is supported by the Arab central banks. From 2020 the UAE-based BUNA can process cross-border payments in eligible Arab and International currencies in real time. Currently the supported currencies are Emirati Dirham AED, Egyptian Pound EGP, Saudi Riyal SAR, Jordanian Dinar JOD, US dollar USD, and Euro EUR. In March 2023 BUNA launched its instant cross-border payment functionality. As for the main SWIFT message types, at the moment BUNA supports: Single Customer Credit Transfer MT 103 - pacs.008. General Financial Institution Transfer MT 202 - pacs.009. End-of-Day Defunding MT 204 - pacs.010. Return Transfer MT 202 - pacs.004.

However, this growth of regional systems leads to competition presenting another barrier to scale for individual IPS—although a less acute one than overlap with the private sector. There is an overlap in functionality between the planned COMESA system and TCIB. PAPSS also has continent-wide ambitions for some of the same use cases. PSPs will be faced with the choice of which systems to join and may select them on a per‑transaction basis. This can translate into significant scale fragmentation. Depending on the interoperability fees charged, however, the competition could also lead to lower costs for end-users. (SIIPS, 2023)

Regulators need to address the issue of transaction fees to encourage the use of digital payments. These fees for business payments can range significantly, from 0.5% to 10% per transaction. To avoid overly high charges, some areas have a fee cap, but these costs can still significantly cut into the profits of small businesses. For instance, Nigeria has a maximum fee of $2.15 (NGN1,000). Compared to cash these transaction fees are considerably high. Another pending issue for African payments is the FATF greylisting. Countries are on the FATF grey list because they do not effectively measure and understand AML/CFT/CPF risks at a country level. Being grey-listed can lead to the termination of correspondent banking relationships and result in other economy-wide consequences due to a decrease in foreign capital. Of the 23 countries under increased monitoring on the 2023 grey list, ten are in Africa: Burkina Faso (since 2021), the Democratic Republic of Congo (2022), Mali (2021), Mozambique (2022), Nigeria (2023), Senegal (2021), South Africa (2023), South Sudan (2021), Tanzania (2022), and Uganda (2020). Most of these countries heavily rely on remittances and this situation can exacerbate operational issues for PSPs. (FATF-GAFI 2023a).

Aside from challenges, the activity and potential in Africa does not go unnoticed. Visa announced in December 2022 its plan to invest $1 billion in the continent by 2027 to enhance digital retail payments. Since 2018, it has already put significant funds into fintechs like Paystack in Nigeria (acquired by Stripe), Flutterwave, Interswitch, JUMO in South Africa, and Bloom, a neobank in Sudan. Mastercard also plans to invest up to $50 million in the Community Pass network, which operates in five African countries: Kenya, Mauritania, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda. This network aims to overcome rural challenges such as unreliable internet, low smartphone use, and the absence of official identification.

Payment unicorns are breeding in Africa. Strategic partnerships are being built, country expansions and launches of services and products are very common now. Alternative payment methods continue to proliferate across the continent, offered by local and international fintech players and telecom companies. Six out of the seven billion-dollar companies in Africa are fintech companies. Five of these— Chippercash of Ghana, Flutterwave, Interswitch, and Opay from Nigeria, and Wave from Senegal—offer digital retail payment services, either domestically or cross border (FintechNews Africa, 2023). Smartphone apps for merchant payments are increasingly available, especially in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. For offline and online payments, IPay incorporates MasterCard and Visa, as well as M-Pesa and other mobile money services. (Katana 2021). SnapScan and Zapper on the back of bank cards are two payment apps in South Africa that have been successful in gaining a large user base. Nigeria’s Paga mobile wallet users are expected to reach 37.6 million in 2025, more than its competitors KongaPay, MoMoPay, Opay, and PalmPay combined (de Best 2021).

Open Finance is beginning to emerge in Africa. More countries have started to implement, or consider implementing, an open finance regime. Nigeria, for example, has issued an Open Banking regulatory framework to enhance financial inclusion and improve competition and efficiency in the financial services sector (Central Bank of Nigeria, Regulatory Framework for Open Banking in Nigeria, 2021).

Read how a Payment Hub can handle A2A payment flows

Here are the developments in payments in a selection of countries in Africa. The list will grow, so subscribe to our newsletter or visit this page again for updates.



Regarding the ISO 20022 implementation or migration planning by the Bank of Algeria, no information was found during our research. There are a few international banks operating in Algeria using ISO20022 Payment Initiation (pain) and Cash Management (camt) financial messages, according to Swift. Algeria appears to be in the very beginning of developing a domestic IPS. This move towards establishing a domestic IPS indicates a growing focus on enhancing the national payment infrastructure in Algeria​​. As it is now, Algeria cannot have cross-border IPS functionality through the African alliances but can access it partially through BUNA. These are the BUNA participants from Algeria at the moment: Al Salam Bank SPA Algeria, Arab Banking Corporation Algeria, Bank of Algeria, Banque Al Baraka D'Algerie, Banque Extérieure D'Algérie, Banque Nationale d'Algérie, Banque De Developpmement Local, Credit Populaire D'Algerie, Fransabank El Djazair SPA, Gulf Bank Algeria, and The Housing Bank for Trade and Finance - Algeria.


Egypt's payment infrastructure, represented by systems like Meeza Digital and InstaPay, is evolving towards more integrated and versatile payment solutions. This development enhances the capacity for various types of financial transactions, catering to both personal and business needs, and signals a progressive shift in Egypt's digital payment landscape. Meeza Digital is a cross-domain Egyptian National Payment Scheme created by the Central Bank of Egypt supporting P2B and B2B transactions. Instapay is an instant payment system mostly focused in P2B, utilizing a mobile app to directly access bank accounts and instantly transfer funds 24/7. It is using an instant payment address which is a simplified address of the end-user’s account number. Though all these mark the will for change in payment infrastructure there is no mention on planning ISO20022 migration. However, just like Algeria, Egypt can access cross-border payments on iso20022 standard through BUNA, the Arab Regional System. Here are the participants from Egypt at the moment: Agricultural Bank of Egypt, Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait - Egypt, Al Baraka Bank Egypt S.A.E., Attijariwafa Bank Egypt, Banque Misr, Banque Misr UAE, Banque du Caire, Commercial International Bank, Egyptian Arab Land Bank, National Bank of Egypt, and The United Bank.


Libya has no domestic IPS, and there are no publicly announced plans to develop any domestic instant payment system functionalities. Libya is a participant in both the COMESA and UMA regional economic communities. The COMESA IPS aims to serve 22 countries across Southern and Eastern Africa, facilitating intra-regional micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) payments, with Libya among them. For now, the Central Bank of Libya appears to have some access to cross-border payments that follow the ISO 20022 standard since it appears to be a participant of the Arab Regional System (BUNA). CBL connection to BUNA is currently live with USD and EUR currencies, but not with the four Arabic currencies offered (Emirati Dirham, Egyptian Pound, Saudi Riyal, and the Jordanian Dinar).


In June 2023, Bank Al-Maghrib, Morocco's central bank, in collaboration with the clearing house Groupement pour un Système Interbancaire Marocain de Télécompensation (GSIMT), launched the instant payment system, Virement Instantané. This initiative aims for a gradual implementation across all Moroccan banks, enhancing transaction speed, availability, and simplifying the payment process. The system enables instant peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions. Initially, the service is offered to end-users at no cost for the first three months. After this period, banks have the discretion to establish their own fees for transactions. The service has a daily transaction limit of $1,960 (MAD 20,000). The development of the system's architecture, which utilizes ISO 20022, was informed by workshops with banks and proof of concept testing (Bank Al-Maghrib and SIIPS 2023). As for the connection to the Arab Regional System, at this moment two Moroccan banks participate and can access its cross-border payments in ISO20022 standard, these are Attijariwafa Bank and Banque Centrale Populaire.

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According to the Annual Report of 2022 Bank of Angola wishes to implement ISO20022 standard. However, no specific timeline or dates are known at this moment. A domestic IPS is in development. A useful note is that Angola as a participant of the Regional Economic Community SADC is also a member of TCIB, the regional level low value payment scheme which uses the ISO20022 standard. A subtle sign of ISO 20022 format usage can be found in an African bank that operates in Angola and supports pain.002 and pain.002 financial messages.



It’s not surprising that Africa's second-largest economy is also one of the most advanced in the payments domain in the continent. Nigeria has multiple domestic IPS. Specifically: a) NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) a cross-domain IPS with 450 participants, overseen by the Central Bank of Nigeria; b) ‘Nigeria mobile money’ that was launched by NIBSS in 2013 and has 21 participants and c) eNaira with its instant settlement by CBN. The Nigerian eNaira remains the only sovereign currency IPS in Africa, since every other initiative in the continent is currently in research or pilot phase. NIP is notable for its support of P2P, P2B, and B2B payments, including cross-border B2B transfers, and QR payments as well, making it one the very few in Africa offering such a broad range of payment use cases.

NIP and ‘Nigeria Mobile Money’ participants can access the services only through its open API structure, which enables participant integration, processing, and monitoring, as well as overlay services such as payee confirmation. For financial institutions that have not yet upgraded to ISO 20022, an API layer can provide integration with the system. NIP and e-Naira developed proprietary messaging standards and plan to migrate to ISO 20022, according to SIIPS Report, 2023. ‘Nigeria Mobile Money’ at the moment works on ISO 8583 and uses the mobile number as proxy ID.

“The CBN introduced a new type of banking license: payment service banks (PSBs). This aimed to leverage the strengths of businesses, such as mobile network operators, while maintaining a bank-led rather than a telecoms-led banking model. Unlike in East Africa, where mobile money is extremely popular, Nigeria's population is currently not sold on the concept. However, it has the potential to grow this market as last year saw the likes of MTN and other telecoms launch their PSBs in the country” (Fintech Times)

Other signs of an innovative mindset and activity in Nigeria is that the country has taken steps toward open banking through regulatory standardization of API access. Something else that stands out is that NIBSS, the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, supports G2P payments. It hosts and validates payments for all of the government’s social intervention programs in the country. The Central Bank of Nigeria is planning on dispensing welfare payments in eNaira under the National Social Safety Net Program-Scale Up (Tunji 2023). As of March 2023, 4 million eNaira wallets have been created specifically for social disbursements, bringing the total number of wallets to 13 million. Additionally to all the above, Nigeria is one of the countries that developed a domestic QR code standard, the Nigeria Quick Response Code, used by both NIP and eNaira.

Of course it’s important to note that Nigeria is part of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), which was launched as a regional IPS pilot in the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) in June 2022. The Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia, were included along with Nigeria as the WAMZ pilot countries, gathering altogether 157.5M potential end-users. PAPSS aims to facilitate cross-border payments across the continent, with direct exchanges currently between 42 different currencies across Africa. An initiative that, once fully implemented across member states and all integrated participants, will enable more than half of Africa's adult population to make instant payments across borders.

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Compared to most African nations, South Africa's financial services are pretty advanced. This is seen in its banking industry, where two-thirds of the population have at least one bank account. The country is also getting into open banking, with six banks already providing these services to their customers, as the country has already taken steps toward open banking through regulatory standardization of API access. Moreover, South Africa is a front-runner not just in Africa but worldwide in different financial solutions. For example, challenger banks such as Tyme Bank started here and have even gone international, reaching countries like the Philippines.

South Africa is a participant of Transactions Cleared on an Instant Basis (TCIB), which was launched by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in 2021 (potentially reaching 223 million people). Angola, Botswana, Comoros, DRC; Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar; Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, are also in the group of countries served by TCIB.

The newest IPS, PayShap, started in South Africa in March 2023 as a banking system for instant payments, set up by BankservAfrica, and settled by the South African Reserve Bank. It's supported by the four biggest banks there: Absa, FNB, Nedbank, and Standard Bank. BankservAfrica, which helps manage and process payments quickly, also runs the regional TCIB system. PayShap is made for small payments, with limits set at $167 (ZAR3,000) per transaction and $278 (ZAR5,000) per day. It was created as part of the South African Reserve Bank's Vision 2025 plan, with BankservAfrica and the Payments Association of South Africa taking the lead in getting it up and running. Right now, PayShap is only for person-to-person (P2P) payments, but they're working on adding business payments too. So far, there are no plans to add more types of payments or to let non-bank companies like mobile money operators use the system. CBDC is under research in South Africa, as in almost all of the countries on the continent. PayShap in South Africa assigns individual end-users a ShapID based on a bank-registered mobile phone number; a ShapID for a business is based on its bank account details, e.g., [mobile number]@[bank name] (PayShap 2023).

PayShap lets its participants decide how much to charge their customers. While all decided to make it cheaper than the other fast payment system, RTC, only one offers a price as low as using cash, at $0.05 (ZAR 1). The rest have prices going up to $2.40 (ZAR 45).

Real-Time Clearing (RTC) was launched in 2006 by BankservAfrica, has 33 participants, and is now processing 19% of the country's GNI. RTC is one of the two IPS in the continent that offers NFC payments. However, RTC still operates on the ISO 8583, while the newest PayShap runs on the ISO 20022 standard, just like the regional TCIB that serves South Africa.

The rollout of digital IDs, crucial for secure proxy IDs, is key to enabling retail instant payment systems (IPS). In South Africa, for instance, the introduction of the Smart ID is part of this effort.

In South Africa, a digital gap emerged between those using digital services and those who preferred to withdraw cash from ATMs. The RTC system was designed for larger transactions and clients with more wealth, to avoid impacting existing revenue streams, leading to its low usage. The National Treasury, in charge of promoting financial inclusion, had previously initiated industry-wide discussions to develop an Instant Payment System for the broader market using unique identifiers. This idea stalled for years but was revived due to encouragement from the central bank and regulatory bodies, following several unsuccessful attempts by private sectors to create an e-money system and a reassessment of strategies concerning retail banking revenue.

In South Africa, the government pushed for payments to people (G2P) through different providers. The South African Social Security Agency made changes to how social grants were paid, allowing all payment service providers (PSPs) to participate in distributing these funds. TymeBank, an online-only bank, took this chance to sign up new customers right at the social grant offices, sometimes even getting them to switch from their current bank. By doing this, TymeBank was able to get more than 1.2 million grant recipients to join in just half a year.

In regional trade, despite an increase, retail B2B and P2B payment methods across borders are still not available. Around 80% of retailers trading across borders among Eswatini, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe continue to pay their suppliers in cash, as noted by the FinMark Trust in 2021. Also, between South Africa and other SADC countries, 70% of cross-border remittances are conducted through informal channels.

South Africa's licensing rules often set the standard for central banks in the SADC region. The South African Reserve Bank issues licenses to foreign exchange dealers with specific permissions (ADLAs), which are organized by the type of payment services they can offer. Since 2014, the ADLA license has allowed non-bank institutions to provide cross-border payment services, like remittances, with different levels of capital needed for each tier. This new system led to more competition and lower prices since its start. ADLAs focus on small remittances, offering lower prices for smaller transactions.

Regional frameworks can promote local currency exchanges and settlements, and South Africa is a great example. The TCIB system enables settlements in South African Rand via the SADC real-time gross settlement system, relying on deposits at the South Africa Reserve Bank. This approach cut down the need for correspondent deposits from about 13 to just one in Rand and another in US dollars, based on each country's settlement needs.

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Ethiopia has the 2nd largest population in Africa, after Nigeria. However, 2 in 3 people in the country are unbanked and cash transactions are the king. Regulation has restricted the entry of players for mobile money. Mobile financial services are allowed only if they are linked to banks. Non-bank technology companies seeking to offer mobile payment systems are restricted to the role of “technology service providers”, hence, mobile money is treated as a procurement system for banks and potential mobile money operators can only operate as providers of a technical system to a bank. Therefore, mobile money players are not able to have direct access to the end customer and the unbanked population (65%) is automatically excluded from mobile wallets solutions, as they must be linked to bank accounts.

Nonetheless, things are moving on in payments technology at a steady pace. For instance, Telebirr is not the only mobile money service anymore, since M-Pesa was licensed by the authorities. Also, HelloCash is a mobile money service with numerous channels, such as GSM SMS, IVR, web app, Telegram ChatBot, QR code, and others.

More importantly, Ethiopia at last has its own IPS, joining 20 other African countries with access to domestic IPS. EthSwitch, a cross-domain IPS, Real-time Retail Payments Platform Project went live in 2022. It was funded from the African Development Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to modernize the country’s retail payment system. After a successful pilot between nine banks and one microfinance institution (MFI), the person-to-person (P2P) service went live in October 2022, enabling bank, MFI, and e-money issuers to instantly send funds between accounts and digital wallets via both USSD and apps (EthSwitch 2021) All licensed PSPs can participate (all-to-all interoperability) meaning that they can link bank accounts to mobile wallets and vice versa, bank accounts to bank accounts, and mobile wallets to mobile wallets to transfer value. EthSwitch is also the owner of EthioPay, the domestic Card Scheme of the country.

Additionally to its domestic IPS Ethiopia as a member of the COMESA Regional Economic Community will have access the regional COMESA IPS that plans to serve 22 countries across Southern and Eastern Africa and facilitate intra-regional micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) payments (Burundi, Comoros, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Eswatini, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe).

Promisingly, according to the Ethiopia Digital Payments Strategy, Digital Ethiopia 2025 there are some short-midterm projects on their way. E-transactions enabled E-Governance: Pilot an electronic portal using E-Transaction technologies and ensuring user centricity, aiming to facilitate digital interactions among different actors (government, private sector and citizens) involving National Bank of Ethiopia, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ethio Switch, other Ministries, and trade associations.


Malawi's digital transformation and payments advancements have leading barriers, including very low internet penetration (23.4%, 2023) and low cellular connections (57.2%, 2023), according to the Digital 2023 report. Nonetheless, things are moving in the right direction at a relatively fast pace.

The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has introduced regulations to encourage electronic payment methods over cash, partnering with the Ministry of Trade. Despite these efforts, the adoption of digital payments faces challenges, including low digital literacy, infrastructural issues, and merchant reluctance. To overcome these obstacles, the RBM initiated a project with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion and the Mastercard Foundation to promote electronic payments. This initiative focuses on enhancing digital financial literacy, improving infrastructure, and enforcing new regulations. The project includes public awareness campaigns and aims to increase the use of digital payments, benefiting consumers and businesses by offering safer, faster, and more convenient transaction methods.

Malawi’s Natswitch is a cross-domain IPS that addresses consumers for low-cost instant payments and providers as an interoperability platform with low transaction fees. Natswitch facilitates a broad spectrum of payment use cases, including Business-to-Business (B2B), Peer-to-Business (P2B), and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) transactions. It supports these transactions through a variety of channels, designed to accommodate the diverse needs of its users. These channels are: Agent: Physical locations where users can perform transactions; App: A mobile application for managing and executing payments; ATM: Machines for cash withdrawals and other banking transactions; POS: Terminals for card payments at retail outlets; USSD: A service for executing transactions via simple mobile phone commands; Web: Online platforms for making and receiving payments.

There are 11 participants in Natswitch: 8 commercial banks, 2 mobile money operators (MMOs), and an MFI hub. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for transaction values and volumes between 2020 and 2022 was 61% and 9.5%, respectively. Natswitch Payment system currently runs on the ISO 8583 messaging standard. Discussions are underway regarding the creation of a translation layer to enable the conversion from ISO 8583 to ISO 20022 and vice versa (SIIPS 2023). The country is also part of TCIB IPS that uses ISO 20022 format and has access to up to 223 million people. Malawi, as a member state of COMESA, is also a participant in the planned regional IPS along with Burundi, Comoros, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Eswatini, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean where many citizens speak both French and English, serves as a key link between Africa and South Asia. It has grown into an upper-middle-income country with one of the highest GDP per capita in Africa. By 2030, Mauritius aims to become a high-income country through political stability, strategic location, and a focus on skilled employment, infrastructure, and digital development. Mauritius, facing limitations in natural resources, has adapted by diversifying its economy. It has established a notable presence in business process outsourcing (BPO) and built a robust financial services sector, while also enhancing its tourism industry.

The country has 10 bank branches per 100,000 adults, which is much higher than the average of 5 bank branches in the Sub-Saharan African countries. Its well-developed and capitalized financial services sector plays a significant role, contributing 13% to the GDP and employing over 8,600 people. Efforts to align with global standards have improved its investor-friendly image, leading to its removal from the EU's list of high-risk countries for money laundering and terrorism financing.

Mauritius has MauCAS (Mauritius Central Automated Switch), a digital platform and sovereign currency cross-domain IPS, regulated and operated by the central bank. This domestic IPS provides 24x7 instant payments through cards, NFC, mobile phones, and other channels. MauCAS allows for payment using a pseudonym, rather than through an account number, to facilitate ease of transfer. These proprietary IDs are centralized at the IPS level and, since 2022, have been accessible by all licensed payment service providers (PSPs). The country's transactions are cleared on an immediate basis (TCIB) in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). TCIB is a cross-border low-value payment scheme that enables the immediate clearing of single credit “push” transactions, settled on a deferred basis. This payment scheme is designed for ISO20022 and is open to all banks and authorized non-banks across SADC, with integration points into other African regions, including the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Mauritius is a member of COMESA. The country shows interest in payment modernization in other areas such as CBDC. The central bank is going to conduct a retail CBDC pilot in 2024, with the assistance of the IMF. (SIIPS 2023)


Rwanda after the devastating set-back from the civil war, managed to transform - in relative - short period. Rwanda's vision for 2050 aims to transform the nation into a globally competitive, knowledge-driven economy. The country aspires to achieve high-income status, with digital technology playing a significant role in its growth and development. Rwanda's plan is to build a successful fintech environment with two main goals. The first is to turn Rwanda into a regional finance center, and the second is to encourage financial services that focus on helping customers, which will support the country's economic and social development. Rwanda is a state member of COMESA and a participant of its planned IPS for countries like Burundi, Comoros, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Eswatini, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. At the same time the country also participates in EAC along with Burundi, DRC, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, gaining access to another planned regional IPS.

In Rwanda, the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) initiated a shift towards digital payments to address low interoperability within the payment ecosystem and the reliance on cash. The National Payment System Framework and Strategy 2018 to 2024 aimed to foster a cashless economy by enhancing digital payment use and achieving all-to-all interoperability among payment service providers. This led to the launch of eKash in 2022, a collaboration between RSwitch, the BNR, and the private sector, designed to create a safe, efficient, and inclusive digital payment system.

eKash's introduction marked a significant step towards modernizing Rwanda's payment system, focusing on interoperability to improve the customer experience and support a cashless economy. The system initially supported mobile money participants and peer-to-peer transactions, with commercial banks integrating in 2023 to become an all-encompassing, cross-domain interoperable payment system. The COVID-19 pandemic, despite causing delays, accelerated the transition from cash to digital payments, showcasing the system's potential for broader regional integration with systems like COMESA's in the future.

eKash aims for complete interoperability within the digital payment ecosystem, allowing all licensed financial service providers, including banks and non-banks, to participate. Operated by RSwitch, a private company, it facilitates the switching of transactions between different types of electronic funds and manages the clearing process with the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), which settles transactions among participants. Commercial banks, as direct participants, have exclusive access to the Rwanda Integrated Payments Processing System (RIPPS) and maintain pre-funded accounts monitored by the BNR. Indirect participants, such as microfinance institutions, telecoms offering e-money, and non-bank payment service providers, settle through sponsor banks. eKash calculates net settlements for daily execution via RIPPS at 10am, with the possibility of additional settlements if needed. Additionally, eKash supports various stakeholders, including fintechs, government agencies, and e-commerce providers, offering connectivity through an API layer.

The payment use case that eKash supports is Transfers and remittances (P2P), and next on the roadmap are Salaries and wages (B2P), Merchant payments (P2B), Cross-border taxes and fees (P2G) Social disbursements (G2P), Inventory and business services (B2B). Channels in use are Branches, POS, USSD, Apps, ATMs, Agents, Browser, and for the future QR code and NFC capability.

The eKash payment system of Rwanda uses ISO 20022 as its native message format for integration, which RSwitch expects will better prepare the system for future integration with regional and international payment systems (BIS 2022b)


Zambia's payment landscape, initially marked by limited interoperability and a dominance of cash transactions, led to low financial inclusion. To address this, the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) launched a National Payment Strategy in 2013, introducing the National Financial Switch (NFS) to facilitate secure and cost-effective digital payments. This initiative aimed to boost digital payment adoption by ensuring transactions remained within Zambia and reducing costs for both payment service providers (PSPs) and users. The Bank of Zambia (BOZ) recognized the need for the switch to be a public utility and assisted the banks with the setup and implementation costs. BOZ is also the settlement agent of NFS.

The NFS project, a collaboration between the BoZ and the Zambia Electronic Clearing House (ZECHL), sought to enable interoperability across all payment types. Implemented in phases, it first integrated ATM and POS functionalities, followed by e-money. The NFS, a cross-domain IPS in Zambia, was launched in 2018 and became fully operational by 2019, supporting domestic card payments and e-money transactions, including non-bank participants like mobile money operators.

It was built to offer consumers a secure, cost-effective digital retail payment platform that will eventually replace cash, while giving to the providers a shared infrastructure that will reduce costs. It supports the most popular channels and essential use cases, with a potential to achieve a full range of services. Specifically it supports B2P, P2B, G2P, and P2P through the following channels: Agents, App, ATM, Branch, POS, USSD. Right now, NFS has 30 participants, mostly commercial banks and a low number of MMOs, MFIs and non-bank PSPs.

Future enhancements for the NFS include introducing agent banking, a QR code system, and a centralized eKYC platform. This platform will utilize mobile phone numbers and Bank Identification Numbers (BIN) for secure and streamlined user identification.

Additionally, BOZ recognized the need for migration to ISO 20022 format in its Vision and Strategy 2023-2027, National Payments.

The Zambia Interbank Payment and Settlement System (ZIPSS), Zambia's RTGS system, was upgraded and went live on October 14, 2023. It transitioned to the ISO20022 messaging standard and changed its system topology from Y-Copy to V-Mode. This upgrade, using the future language for payments, simplifies API integration, facilitating payment system integration and promoting interoperability.

Zambia has access to the regional level TCIB, like the rest of SADC countries (Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe), and can also use the planned COMESA regional IPS among Burundi, Comoros, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Eswatini, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe).

Global Glossary of Payments

Addis Ababa City Administration


Association of African Central Banks


African Continental Free Trade Area


Albanian Electronic Clearing House


Domestic card scheme of Afghanistan


Anti-Money laundering


Albanian Interbank Payment System

American Express (Amex)

A global services company that offers a wide range of payment, travel, and financial management solutions for individuals and businesses. Known for its credit card, charge card, and traveler's cheque services, American Express operates a closed-loop network, processing transactions on its proprietary platform.


Afghanistan Payments System the National e-Payment Switch of Afghanistan is operating under umbrella of the Central Bank of Afghanistan (Da Afghanistan Bank)


African Union


Bankers Association of Malawi


Banking Association of South Africa


Banque centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest


Banque des États de l’Afrique Centrale


Bank for International Settlements. An international financial institution owned by central banks that fosters international monetary policy and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks.


National Bank of Rwanda


Bank of Ghana


Balance of Payments


Bank of Zambia


The Arab Regional Payment System is a multi-currency cross‑border payment system for clearing and settlement of intra-Arab payments. The central mechanism is based in the United Arab Emirates and it is supported by the Arab central banks, spanning the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa. Buna is the payment system operated by the Arab Regional Payments, Clearing and Settlement Organization, subsidiary of the Arab Monetary Fund. The currencies that are currently supported are the Emirati Dirham (AED), the Egyptian Pound (EGP), the Saudi Riyal (SAR), the Jordanian Dinar (JOD), the US dollar (USD), and the Euro (EUR).


COMESA Business Council the central bank, a commercial bank, or a third-party agent (BIS 2018a).


Central Bank Digital Currency. A digital form of a central bank liability, denominated in an existing unit of account, which serves both as a medium of exchange, a store of value, and a means of payment. CBDC may be transferred either on a peer-to-peer basis or through an intermediary, which could be.


Central Bank of Nigeria


Committee of Central Bank Governors


A digital payment platform focused on e-commerce transactions, operating the Tingg platform in 35 African countries to facilitate payments via mobile money, cards, and bank transfers.


A regional economic community and monetary union with common currency the Central Africa CFA franc since 1999. Member states include Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.<

Central Bank e-money

A central bank-backed digital currency facilitates settlement across e-money and PSPs, with access to central bank reserves. Other functions fall to regulated private e-money providers.


Common Monetary Area


The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa is a regional economic community formed in 1994 with Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.


Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa regional payment system including member states and non-member states (Burundi, Comoros, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Eswatini, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe).


Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures.

Cross Border

The movement of funds between financial institutions within two distinct countries. The cross-border transaction, which can be a range of payment use cases, often requires intermediaries operating in multiple jurisdictions (BIS 2021).

Cross Domain IPS

A system that provides for all-to-all interoperability where switching, clearing, and exchanging instruments is contained within one overarching system. Cross-domain systems provide access to banks and non‑banks and support transactions from both bank accounts and mobile money accounts. All-to-all interoperability includes the ability for end-users to directly transact between wallet accounts at different mobile money operators (MMOs), between mobile money accounts and bank accounts, and across bank accounts. Within one system, there are different rules to accommodate various instruments. The single system provides the governance framework and coordinates the operational functions end-to-end for the various instruments (GSMA 2014).

Debit EFT

A payment instrument that allows the recipient to collect money from the sender’s transaction account without the sender having to do anything but provide written, electronic approval through a debit order mandate (PASA 2022b). Debit EFTs are, by definition, pull payments.


Digital Financial Service


The process whereby transaction obligations are netted off and only the balance is settled at a later stage according to a predefined cycle, either daily or more frequently (World Bank 2021b).

Direct system participant

Licensed PSPs governed by the same scheme rules, and who are connected directly to the switching infrastructure.


An American financial services company that owns and operates the Discover Network, a payment network for processing transactions made with Discover-branded credit cards. Discover is also known for its direct banking services, including savings accounts, personal loans, and student loans.


Direct Pay Online Provides a leading payment gateway operating across Africa, serving over 100,000 merchants with solutions for card, mobile money, and cross-border transactions, aimed at enhancing e-commerce.


Electronic Identity e-Money An electronically transactable currency instrument and a claim against a licensed e-money issuer, supported by commercial bank deposits or by a direct claim upon a commercial bank.


East African Business Council


East Africa Community is an intergovernmental organization composed of seven countries (Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda).


The East Africa Community regional IPS for its members, specifically Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.


Economic Community of Central African States was formed in 1983 with member states Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, and São Tomé and Príncipe


A regional economic community consisting of 15 members (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo).


Electronic funds transfer. The message is created whenever a payment instruction via various delivery channels (for example, the internet) is issued, crediting a customer’s transaction account, to make an electronic payment to a third party (PASA 2022a). Credit EFTs are therefore by definition push payments.


A fast method for sending and receiving money between Mobile Network Operators, Banks, Microfinance Institutions, and Savings and Credit Co-operatives, created by RSwitch in Rwanda.


Electronic Know Your Customer


Is the first Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in Africa. The digital form of the Nigerian currency Naira is kept in an eNaira wallet and can be used just like cash. It’s both for local and international trade. eNaira can be used for remittance as a cheaper diaspora remittance option.


Exchange Settlement Account System Deposit accounts provided by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to qualify entities allowing them to settle payments with each other.


EthSwitch went live in 2022 as the first IPS in Ethiopia. It’s a cross-domain IPS, a Real-time Retail Payments Platform Project funded to modernize the country’s retail payment system.


Financial Action Task Force


Financial Crime Compliance Group


Financial Market Infrastructures: Financial Market Infrastructures, such as payment and settlement systems, provide trading, clearing, settlement and reporting services transactions undertaken within the financial system.


Fast payment system




A Public-Private Partnership established by the Central Bank of The Gambia and private investors. It provides a platform for the full online payment integration of all commercial banks, financial institutions, billing systems, international payment gateways and electronic channels such as ATMs, POS, Web and Mobile.


Gross Domestic Product

Ghana MMI

Ghana Mobile Money Interoperability Instant Payment System


Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems


Groupement Interbancaire Monétique l’Afrique Centrale


Digital payment platform in Central Africa, facilitating electronic transactions across national borders within the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), including Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad,Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon


GhIPSS (Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems) Instant Pay


Gross National Income


Regulatory bodies in two or more countries agree to a set of regulatory frameworks/ standards and/or establish a similarity in processes/services.


International Finance Corporation is a member of the World Bank Group and the the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector


Regional economic community established in 1996, comprises eight Eastern Africa countries—Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda (Eritrea is currently inactive).


Inclusive Instant Payment System

Indirect system participant

Payment value chain participants who do not have a technical integration with the central switch or settlement services and participate in the system via an integrated PSP/direct system participant.


Instapay is an app that allows direct access to connected bank accounts and money transfers 24/7 without fees by using the IPN egyptian network. The app uses the IPA (Instant Payment Address of the customer) as ID.


International Monetary Fund

Inventory and business services

Monetary transfers between two business entities. The payment size ranges from large value payments associated with large intra-industry transactions to retail payments between micro, small, and medium enterprises (the focus of this report)—for instance, payment for inventory supplies provided by one business to another (World Bank 2020a).

IPN Egypt

Instant Payment Network (IPN) is a payment method, created by Egyptian Banks Company, permitting real-time instant money transfers between different bank accounts in Egypt. It also serves as a bank account aggregation since it allows direct access to all your accounts through Instapay mobile app.


Instant payment system. IPS are retail payment systems that are multilateral and open loop and that enable digital push payments in near real time for use 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, or as close to that as possible.


Introduced in 2004, ISO 20022 has become the standard exchange for new instances of electronic messaging and is used by most financial service providers for payment as well as non-payment transactions (World Bank 2021h).

ISO 8583

The most common messaging standard for card payments, ISO 8583 was established by the ISO in 1987 (World Bank 2021h).


Interactive Voice Response

JCB (Japan Credit Bureau)

A Tokyo-based credit card company operating primarily in Asia. JCB cards are accepted in 190 countries and territories worldwide, offering a variety of financial products and services to cardholders and merchants, focusing on innovative payment solutions and international partnerships.


Know your customer


Local Currency Settlement Framework


Low-value payments. IPS definition term for the purpose of this report. Transactions of less than $5.


A mobile phone-based money transfer service, payments and micro-financing service, launched by Mobile Network Operators in Kenya and later expanded to Tanzania, Mozambique, DRC, Lesotho, Ghana, Egypt, Afghanistan, South Africa and Ethiopia.


Moroccan Dirham


A mobile payment brand in Morocco, developed as part of the country's national strategy for financial inclusion. Developed by Morocco Central Bank (Bank Al-Maghrib), in collaboration with the mobile payment ecosystem and the Digital Development Agency.


Monetary Authority of Singapore


Multinational financial services corporation that facilitates electronic funds transfers globally through its branded credit, debit, and prepaid cards. Mastercard operates a vast payment network, connecting consumers, merchants, financial institutions, and governments in over 210 countries and territories, enabling seamless and secure transactions across borders and different payment environments.


Mauritius Central Automated Switch (MauCAS) is a digital platform, providing 24x7 instant payments, through cards, mobile phone and other channels.


Meeza Digital is the cross-domain Egyptian National Payment Scheme by Central Bank of Egypt


Micro Finance Institute

MFS Africa

A pan-African mobile payment gateway, connects over 400 million mobile money wallets and 200 million bank accounts across 35 countries. It partners with leading MMOs and integrates with services like MoneyGram and PayPal, and also targeting corridors also aimed at by regional IPS.


North Macedonian MIPS (Macedonian Interbank Payment System)


A mobile network operator, or an entity that has partnered with a mobile network operator, that provides mobile money services, a pay-as-you-go digital medium of exchange and store of value that operates independently of a traditional banking network (IMF 2022b).


Mobile Network Operator

Mobile money

A service in which a mobile phone is used to access financial services, where value is stored virtually in a transaction account issued by an e-money issuer.


Micro, small, and medium enterprise

Multilateral interoperability

Multilateral interoperability allows payment instruments from one system to be used across different platforms and countries. It combines technical, semantic, and business interoperability dimensions, with the nature of business rules defining its multilateral character without limiting the number of involved providers, platforms, systems, or jurisdictions (BIS 2021).


A new Electronic Funds Transfer system in Namibia, designed to modernize the country's payment processes with faster, more secure, and efficient electronic transactions. It is accessed through web banking and mobile bank app


Is a private association Instant Payment System in Malawi


National Bank of Ethiopia


National Financial Switch


Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System


NIBSS (Nigeria Interbank Settlement System) Instant Payments

NPS Somalia

Somalia National Payment System


A real-time settlement system providing the financial markets with clearing and settlement services for high-value debt securities and equities in New Zealand


Office monétique de l’Afrique Centrale

On-us Transactions

Transactions within a single PSP or financial group that don't require clearing or settling between separate institutions, occurring internally between customer accounts.

Open API

Open application programming interface. The method for software programs to communicate with one another that is designed to conform to published data formats and standards and is made widely available, allowing other companies to integrate seamlessly into the payment system (CGAP 2022).






Payments Association of Namibia


Pan African Payment and Settlement Systems is a centralised Financial Market Infrastructure enabling the efficient and secure flow of money across African borders. This African Union infrastructure developed in collaboration with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to complement trading under the AfCFTA


PayShap is a payment service that allows users to conduct transactions using their cellphone number as an identifier. Users must create a ShapID by linking their cellphone number to their bank account through their banking app or cellphone banking. The ShapID facilitates receiving and making payments without sharing bank account details. It is available to individuals and businesses registered with PayShap through participating banks.


A Real-Time payments platform that enables individuals and businesses in Kenya to send and receive money instantly into bank accounts


Point of Sale


Public-Private Partnership


Payment Service Directive


Payment Service Oversight Committee


Payment service provider. An intermediary that processes payments on behalf of the payer and payee.

Platform Operator

Responsible for transmitting payment instructions, settlement calculations, and daily system management in accordance with scheme rules and governance. Duties include service quality, risk mitigation, and maintaining standards (CGAP 2021).

Proxy ID

An identifier (for example, e-mail address, mobile phone number) that may be used in lieu of the payer’s or payee’s transaction account information. These allow the public and the business sector to transact in a seamless manner while initiating a payment (World Bank 2021e).


Quick response


Reserve Bank of Malawi


The value transfer is assured to be instant (within seconds).

Real-time settlement

When transactions are settled continuously as they occur (World Bank 2021b).


Regional Economic Community


Regional Payment and Settlement System – introduced by the COMESA Clearing House for the member states of COMESA. REPSS is a Multilateral Netting System with End-of-Day Settlement in a single currency (US$ or Euro)


Rwanda Integrated Payments Processing System


Rwanda National Digital Payment System


The National E-payment switch of Rwanda


Remittance service provider


Real-Time Clearing


Real-Time Gross Settlement


An Indian domestic card scheme conceived and launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It was created to fulfill the Reserve Bank of India’s vision to have a domestic, open-loop, and multilateral system of payments. RuPay facilitates electronic payment at all Indian banks and financial institutions, and is increasingly accepted internationally.


Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority


Savings and Credit Co-operative Society


Southern African Development Community


Formerly known as SIRESS, is the SADC region’s cross-border real-time gross settlement system that went live in July 2013 for high-value payments. The South African Reserve Bank is the operator of the system and is appointed by SADC participating member central banks. Central banks and financial institutions, which include authorized banks and non-banks in the SADC region, are participants in SADC RTGS


South African Reserve Bank


Samoa Automated Transfer System


SBI365 is a project enabling the banking system of New Zealand to run 365 days per year allowing electronic payments between banks every day of the year, not just on business days.


Single Euro Payments Area

Settlement agent

Responsible for moving the settlement value in commercial or sovereign currency between system participants (CGAP 2021).


Sociedade Interbancária De Moçambique


State of Inclusive Instant Payment Systems


Société monétique de l’Afrique Centrale

Sovereign currency IPS

CBDC IPS combines a sovereign currency instrument and value transfer system that can provide a unified digital value transfer mechanism between commercial instrument systems, institutional stakeholders, and individuals within an economy.


Somali Payment Switch is a national project with Interbank card-based switching and clearing services (ATM and EFTPOS) aiming to modernize Somalia’s retail payment infrastructure with support from the Central Bank of Somalia.


Sub-Saharan Africa


Système de gros montants automatisé


Automated Settlement System of Djibouti


Système de télécompensation en Afrique Centrale


A digital financial service in Egypt, focusing on digital money transfers, mobile wallets, bill payments, and expanding financial services access, particularly for the unbanked or underbanked population.


A global payment network that connects Payment Service Providers (PSPs) across borders, specializing in areas without regional Instant Payment Systems (IPS). It's known for reliable PSP integrations.


‘Transactions Cleared on an Immediate Basis’ payment system in Southern African Development Community (SADC) including Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Third-party interoperability

Interoperability among IPS participants is enabled through a centralized switch or clearing layer, often managed by a third-party aggregator, which can be either private or government-owned (CGAP 2016). Connection to the switch achieves interoperability.


An international payment network linking PSPs worldwide, filling gaps in regions lacking IPS infrastructure. Thunes is recognized for its comprehensive cross-border payment solutions.


‘Tanzania Instant Payment System’ is an electronic payment system, operated by the Bank of Tanzania, and designed for instant, real-time interbank transfers. It allows the transfer of payments between different Digital Financial Service Providers (DFSPs), both banks and non-banks such as e-money issuers.

Transfers & Remittances

Transfers of money to family members or friends without an underlying economic transaction (for example, remittances sent from one person’s transaction account to another (World Bank 2021b).


A regional economic community established in 1989 with Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia as its members

UnionPay International (UPI)

A subsidiary of China UnionPay, focused on the growth and support of UnionPay’s global business. UnionPay is one of the largest card payment organizations in the world, offering high acceptance in China and expanding its international presence in over 180 countries and regions.


UN Economic Commission for Africa


Unstructured supplementary service data. A GSM protocol for 2G networks adapted for financial transactions, allowing users to send instructions and authenticate with a PIN, while providers confirm transactions (CGAP 2015).


Vanuatu Automated Transfer System is a clearing and settlement system that combines the functions of RTGS for high-value/urgent payments with those of an ACH for Bulk/Low-value payments.


An international payment technology company that provides digital payment services across the globe. Visa operates one of the world’s most advanced processing networks, VisaNet, enabling secure and reliable transactions between consumers, merchants, financial institutions, and government entities in more than 200 countries and territories. It offers a wide range of credit, debit, prepaid, and business payment solutions, facilitating commerce and financial inclusion worldwide.


Monetary union between eight mainly francophone West African states, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau (non-francophone), Mali, Senegal, and Togo, established in 1994. Their common currency is the West African CFA franc.


A regional IPS for the West African Economic and Monetary Union members (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo)


West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management


West African Monetary Agency


West African Monetary Institute


West African Monetary Zone is a monetary zone with no shared currency that was formed in 2000 as a group of six countries within ECOWAS—The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, were later in 2010 joined by Liberia. Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo.


Central African Franc


West African Franc


South African Rand


Zambia Electronic Clearing House Limited


An expanding payment network provider that offers international connectivity for PSPs, especially in markets without IPS, emphasizing trusted integrations and services.


Zimswitch Instant Payment Interchange Technology (Zimbabwe)

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