The long overdue Southern African Development Community (SADC) cross-border payments initiative has gained momentum in its implementation. The SADC Integrated Regional Settlement System (SIRESS) went live in the Common Monetary Area (CMA, which comprises South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, and Swaziland) in mid-2013, and was subsequently rolled out to other SADC members. It is now available to banks and supervised financial institutions for high-value payments. In October 2018, the USD will be introduced as a trading currency, a move aimed at improving the settlement of transactions between banks in the region[1]. The implementation of the next phase of this initiative will take place during 2018. Low-value EFT payments will be initially introduced in the CMA, and then the broader region. The scheme makes use of interoperable ISO 20022 standards and provides a cheaper and faster method of processing cross-border credit push transactions. It provides for same day pre-funded clearing and settlement.

Under Europe’s SCT Inst scheme, individuals and corporates can transfer EUR15000 within 10 seconds, 24X7X365 across 34 SEPA countries.

As part of ASEAN 2025, the member states are engaged in the modernization and integration of their financial infrastructures, including payment systems, that will ultimately lead to a pan-regional real-time payment ecosystem. In November, 2017, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and Indonesia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to connect their internal payment networks to form a regional real-time cross-border payments network. On similar lines UAE and Saudi Arabia have also decided to connect their RTGS systems. The parties have also arrived at a broader consensus to leverage 1SO 20022 messaging standards for the network.

Ripple has joined forces with MoneyGram and Santander to implement cryptocurrency cross-border payments. The initiative is in testing phase. In a joint initiative, IBM and Stellar, along with network of banks, have begun using digital currency and blockchain software to move money across borders throughout the South Pacific. The banking network includes 12 currency corridors that encompass Australia and New Zealand, as well as smaller countries including Fiji and Tonga. The network will reportedly process up to 60% of all cross-border payments in the South Pacific’s retail FX corridors by early 2019.

PBoC has announced the second phase of its Cross-Border Interbank Payment System (CIPS) to promote the global use of Chinese currency.

[1] https://www.tralac.org/news/article/12986-more-currencies-to-be-introduced-to-the-sadc-regional-payment-system.html

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