CARICOM looking to ease transaction costs in region with African model– Pres. Ali



Finance Ministers and Governors across the region are expected to meet shortly to discuss the possibility of establishing a regional payment settlement system to reduce transaction costs within the region. This was revealed by President Dr Irfaan Ali who is also the current Chair of Caricom during his address to the Afreximbank’s AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) on Thursday.

The regional leaders will be looking at the Pan- African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) launched by the Afreximbank in 2022 to transform and facilitate payments for cross border trade across Africa while saving the continent billions in transaction costs.

Ali told leaders gathered at the Trade and Investment Forum that “every single country in this region complains about the payment settlement system. We have an opportunity now that you have tested…that is why as Chair of Caricom, I have asked the chair of CSME and he has agreed to convene a meeting of Finance Ministers and Governors next week so we can take to the next Heads of Government meeting, a proposal where we can use your system to implement a regional system for payment settlement.”

The PAPSS was established by the Afreximbank and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to reduce over-dependence on external factors and players in achieving acceleration of trade and investment.

The President lauded the forum hosted in The Bahamas, noting that it provides a network to explore new avenues for wealth creation within the regions.

“I think with the type of leadership that we possess; we can define the future how we would like to see it, but we must have that collective will,” he told leaders as he delivered the future address to the Forum in Nassau, The Bahamas.

The President told African investors who have been working to form a closer partnership with Caribbean countries that the Caribbean Region can provide access to one billion people collectively.

He pointed out that the people of the two continents have grown closer over the past three years with approximately 50 delegations from African travelling to this part of the world to look at trade and investment opportunities and the two sides must work together to build trust and increase value of its products and services on the international level.

“We have to shape the conversation, we have the capacity to shape the conversation, for too long the conversation has been shaped for us,” he said adding: “We have to collectively put a value on what we have.”

The 31st annual meetings of the Afreximbank and the third AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) are being held under the overarching theme “Owning our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa” and will run from 12 to 15 June.

The forum and the meetings are headlined by prominent leaders, including Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Prime Minister of The Bahamas Philip Davis and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley.

These leaders along with numerous other African and Caribbean heads of state, government ministers, and high-profile speakers are discussing crucial economic and trade issues.

Keynote speeches will address the challenges affecting African and Caribbean economies, policy issues for promoting growth and prosperity, and strategies for accelerating intra-African trade and investment flows, including engagement with the diaspora.

The agenda covers a wide range of topics such as managing macroeconomic crises where some lessons from Africa and the Caribbean will be presented, making the African Continental Free Trade Agreement work for Global Africa, a vision for Afri-Caribbean socio-political and economic cooperation and integration with perspectives of former leaders, and an Afri-Caribbean free trade agreement.

Other sessions include discussions on entrepreneurial partnerships, perspectives on future opportunities from global entertainment icon Viola Davis, the role of youth in shaping the next era of Global Africa, and the integration through shared culture and heritage.