The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a 21-member States free trade area stretching from Tunisia to Eswatini is planning to introduce a Payment System that will enable people from all COMESA member States to trade easily.
Speaking on the sidelines of the COMESA Business Council, which ran under the mantra ‘Supply Chain Mapping’ recently, the Commercial Council’s Digital Financial Inclusion Manager who is also the Digital Manager for the block, Jonathan Pinifolo said COMESA is planning to improve the continental free trade area through several means like encouraging standardization of products for trade as well as a plethora of measures including enhancing business and trade within the COMESA zone through coming up with common payment system for the region;
“You will realize that with the current payment system it takes take even time to clear the payments and they are even expensive, so we are trying to come up with something like a low-cost Digital Financial Infrastructure Payment System which is low cost and which will be inter-operable and enable people to make payments from their mobile phones or from the banks but also there has to be low resistance,
But the whole essence of all this common payment system within the region is to make sure that trade is promoted amongst the SMEs, they should be able to make payments without any challenges and this is the initiative that we are trying to do”.
Pikifolo added that the process of consultation was ongoing and currently COMESA was conducting project awareness programs and the responses from the public were very good and further added that it was imperative for COMESA to also go Digital since almost everyone these days is now using digital means of payment, for example through AMAZON and Alibaba.