The central banks of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have connected their real-time gross settlement systems in an effort to bolster intra-regional trade in East African economies.
The interconnected East African Payments System (eaps) went live last month after years of negotiations and false starts. It will facilitate real-time transfer of large value payments across borders via the interbank Swift network.
Initially slated for introduction in March 2011, Eaps will enable people in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to make and receive payments in real time, speeding up the process of commercial transactions.
In a statement, the Central bank of Kenay says: "Eaps will facilitate trade within the region and is a quick win for the East African Community."
Commercial banks in Rwanda and Burundi, which have yet to deploy their own RTGS systems, are expected to join at some unspecified date in the future.
The ultimate aim is to follow the European Union in the creation of a common currency for the region, although this is expected to take at least another ten years to set in motion.