Proposed more than 15 years ago, the SADC cross-border payments initiative is fast becoming a reality. SIRESS (SADC Integrated Regional Settlement System) is available to banks and supervised financial institutions for high-value payments. SIRESS went live for the CMA (Common Monetary Area) region in mid-2013, and is now rolled out to other SADC members.
The implementation of the next phase of this regional payment initiative will take place during 2018, with the introduction of low-value EFT payments, firstly in the CMA region, including South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho, and then on to the broader region.
The scheme, which makes use of modern interoperable ISO 20022 standards, provides for a fast and economical method of processing cross-border credit push transactions within the region. It provides for same day pre-funded clearing and settlement, thereby dramatically increasing the velocity of liquidity throughout the region.
From a governance perspective, the scheme will be managed by the SADC PSOC (Payment System Oversight Committee) and the SADC PSMB (Payment System Management Body), both of which are comprised of representatives from across the region. The structure supports an inclusive approach which fosters collaboration among participants.
The SADC Banking Association, charged with the task of implementing this game-changing project, continue to drive the various aspects tirelessly with an eye firmly on the end results.