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SWIFT transfers show robust African economy

Mauritius – The global inter-bank payment facilitator, SWIFT held its 23rd African Regional Conference this week in Balaclava, Mauritius. The event brought together over 400 policymakers and executives in the financial services industry from across the African continent. The conference focussed on financial inclusion, the impact of financial crime compliance, the future of payments and the evolution of Africa’s capital markets.
Figures released ahead of the conference show Africa has outperformed the total growth of SWIFT globally with significant traffic increase across securities and treasury markets.
For the year to date, total message traffic volumes grew by 12.8% versus 5.4% growth for SWIFT worldwide, illustrating that Africa plays an increasingly important role in SWIFT’s global business. Levels of growth were also significantly higher than in the Middle East at 3.2% and the Americas at 6.7%, and closely behind Asia Pacific at 15%.
This growth is underpinned by a significant increase in securities and treasury traffic; securities rose by 15.6% while treasury traffic increased by 23.7%. Growth was even more pronounced in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), with securities traffic up by 16.6% and treasury by 56.1%.
The payment segment has also witnessed a strong rise in volumes, a reflection that many countries in Africa continue to see good economic growth despite a more challenging global environment. African payment traffic volumes grew by 11.6% versus 4.6% growth for SWIFT worldwide. Africa remains the fastest growing region for payments traffic, ahead of the Americas at 5.4%, EMEA at 4.4% and Asia Pacific at 4.3%.
The growth figures are the latest data showing a long-term growth trajectory for Africa. The payments business has grown 89% since 2011, significantly higher than total SWIFT payments growth of 50%. Compound annual growth for Africa since 1999 has been 16.1% year on year.
Hugo Smit, Head of Sub-Sahara Africa, SWIFT said: “Africa is an extremely important market for SWIFT. Even in the face of global economic challenges, the continent continues to outperform other regions and SWIFT’s global growth. We expect this trend to continue as African countries diversify their economies. SWIFT will continue to invest in its African business to support the local financial community.”
Sido Bestani of SWIFT said “Through the development of the SWIFT index, we know that SWIFT data is closely correlated to economic activity. Rising SWIFT traffic volumes are therefore an indicator of economic growth. The data indicates strong but also long-term and sustainable economic growth across Africa.”

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