South African Development Community payments system goes live

Source: Swift

On Sunday 21 July, the SADC Integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System (SIRESS) was successfully implemented in a live environment for the four countries of the Common Monetary Area: South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

All participants in Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa successfully participated in the implementation activities on Sunday 21 July 2013. Participants in Swaziland will start participation on Tuesday 23 July 2013 due to the public holiday in Swaziland on 22 July 2013.

Key benefits:
• First stage of SADC Payment System project is in production

• South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland are live on SIRESS

• Demonstrates benefit to our community of existing investment SWIFT

On, Monday 22 July 2013, the first funding instructions between South Africa's Real Time Gross Settlement System, SAMOS, and SIRESS were processed at 08:12. The first customer payment was settled at 11:01 and by close of day twelve payments to the value of R 215,814,276.95 had been settled.

"From our perspective, SIRESS has been successfully launched as a proof of concept in the CMA countries. We would like to thank the country leaders, participants and other stakeholders for the hard work to make this a reality," said Tim Masela, Head, Payment System Department at the South African Reserve Bank, who also chairs the SADC Payment System sub-commttee of the Committee of Central Bank Governors.

"The successful go-live of the first stage of SIRESS is testament to the hard work of all the partners in the SADC Payment System project. This crucial regional harmonization project stands to generate huge benefits for the region in terms of making the payment element of intra-regional trade much easier and more efficient. This is a huge step towards that goal," said Leina Gabaraane, Chairman of the SADC Banking Association.

This is the first step towards a common electronic payment system for all 15 countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). This aims to boost socio-economic development through harmonization in areas of common interest such as trade tariffs and border controls, and integration in areas such as telecommunications and financial infrastructure.

"We congratulate the SADC Banking community on this achievement. The go-live of this first phase is a critical milestone in the journey towards full implementation of SIRESS that will include non-CMA countries. The fact that the implementation went smoothly is testament to the tremendous efforts by all the parties involved. The project also demonstrates the benefits that our community derive from their existing investment in SWIFT, where the implementation of this system had minimal impact on the commercial banks," said Hugo Smit, Head of Africa South at SWIFT.

SWIFT has participated in the SIRESS project from an early stage, assisting the community in defining and documenting message standards, conducting audits to assess market participants' operational and technical readiness, providing tailored training for the community and administering the associated Closed User Group.

In addition to SADC, SWIFT is working with Africa's financial community in several other regional integration projects, including the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) and the East African Community (EAC).

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