President Jacob Zuma [red tie, front row] poses for photos with central bank governors from different African countries at the 2017 Governors' Symposium of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB). PHOTO: ANA
President Jacob Zuma [red tie, front row] poses for photos with central bank governors from different African countries at the 2017 Governors' Symposium of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB). PHOTO: ANA
President Jacob Zuma File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters
President Jacob Zuma File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

PRETORIA - President Jacob Zuma has encouraged African central bank governors gathered in Pretoria for the 2017 Governors’ Symposium of the Association of African Central Banks (AACB) to explore ways to improve economic integration, including linking payment systems, across borders on the continent.

“Central banks have an important role to play in promoting inter-continental trade, linking the payments systems across the continent, developing a well-functioning and efficient banking system, promoting cross-border banking and capital flows,” said Zuma in his opening remarks at the South African Reserve Bank in Pretoria. 

“Apart from improving integration, these objectives also underpin sustainable and inclusive economic development and will contribute to the eradication of poverty on the continent.”

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He urged the central bank governors to support the African Union’s different mechanisms and conventions which have been adopted to bridge the economic divide and hurdle experiences in intra-continental business.

President Jacob Zuma File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

“In 2013, the African Union adopted Agenda 2063 which strongly promotes economic integration across the continent. Agenda 2063 is premised on the view that a prosperous Africa is based on inclusive growth, sustainable development; good governance and a strong focus on regional integration. By reducing fragmentation and spatial exclusion, Africa can realise its potential for sustainable and inclusive growth,” he said. 

“Integration into the continental and global trade and economic networks is crucial for the development of the continent. However, the recent move towards more protectionist policies by some developed countries could have implications on the pace of globalisation going forward.”

Zuma said that easier international payment regulations potentially meant increased revenue for African countries, as more people could channel funds to their home countries.

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“An efficient payment system that allows for timely and cost effective cross border payments has a critical role to play in promoting regional trade. A well-functioning payment system is also crucial for the transfer of migrant remittances which has become a major source of external finance for Africa. During 2016, remittance flows accounted for over half of total private flows in Africa,” he said.

“We count on the central banks to assist with the development of the payments systems across the continent that would assist in this regard. It is now generally accepted that growth will not be sustainable if it is not inclusive. Financial inclusion is an important pillar of inclusive growth.”

- African News Agency (ANA)