SWIFT expands African operation

The messaging and transaction network SWIFT is to open two new offices in Accra, Ghana and Nairobi, Kenya during 2015, as part of plans to strengthen its presence across the continent.

Economic growth in the sub-Saharan African region rose to 5.2% last year, and six of the ten fastest growing countries are in Africa. With capital flows increasing into the region and payment traffic volumes in the region growing at nearly three times the global average, the company is unsurprisingly keen to seize the opportunity to expand.

SWIFT is also working closely with the Southern Africa Development Community to develop its SIRESS payment system, which was launched in nearly 70 banks across nine countries in September, and has formed similar partnerships with the African Monetary Zone and the East Africa Payment System.

The fact that Africa is rising is evident in various key economic indicators such as GDP growth, FDI and infrastructure investment growth,” said Hugo Smit, SWIFT’s head of Sub-Sahara Africa. “It is also corroborated by the growth in Swift traffic volumes. Such growth requires sound financial systems, securities systems and regulatory compliance. These are all areas where Swift can make an important contribution.”

With the right financial infrastructure in place and through industry collaboration, Africa has a great opportunity to improve the liquidity and efficiency of its capital markets, leading to cheaper equity funding and greater risk sharing for the continent’s expanding corporates,” added Ian Bessarabia, head of business development, Sub-Sahara Africa at SWIFT.

Robust and efficient securities markets will continue to support foreign investment but also encourage higher levels of intra-African investment. This is good for companies and investors.”


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