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Empowering Change: Insights from the 2nd COMESA Digital Retail Payments Platform Proof of Concept Workshop

The recent unveiling of the impactful moments from the 2nd Proof of Concept Workshop on the COMESA Digital Retail Payments Platform marked a milestone in driving transformative change across Zambia and Malawi. This dynamic two-day event brought together over 60 participants representing a diverse spectrum of stakeholders, fueling robust discussions, aligning regulations, and outlining a roadmap for platform expansion.

The workshop, held in Livingstone, Zambia, served as an immersive dive into the potential of the COMESA Digital Retail Payments Platform, showcasing its pivotal role in reshaping financial services within the region.

Setting the Stage for Progress

The opening ceremony resonated with inspiring remarks from a panel of speakers, emphasizing the significance of the workshop’s outcomes in alignment with broader aspirations to bridge the financial services gap across Africa. With an estimated 400 million adults in Africa lacking access to formal financial services, especially women constituting 60% of this demographic, the synchronous efforts towards digital innovation hold promise in unlocking their potential to escape poverty.

Transformative Discussions

Day 1 of the workshop focused on unpacking the transformative findings of the Zambia-Malawi trade corridor Proof of Concept. Discussions revolved around crucial aspects such as insights from the 27th Committee Meeting of COMESA Central Bank Governors, technical strategies for scaling up, clearing and settlement models, foreign exchange management, and embracing standards like ISO 20022.

Operational Efficiency and Scalability

The workshop’s second day delved deeper into operational efficiency, scalability, regulatory compliance, security, and governance. Insights were shared regarding national switches as drivers of cross-border payments, strategies to manage fraud and disputes within the regional switch, optimal governance frameworks for the COMESA Digital Payments Scheme, and the introduction and structure of the Scheme’s working groups.

Driving Tangible Growth

The Proof of Concept’s findings were oriented towards tangible growth, financial inclusion, cross-border trade facilitation, and regional integration. As the journey continues toward full deployment, the collective commitment remains steadfast in driving change, progress, and inclusivity.

This transformative journey signifies a shared vision and commitment to unlocking the vast potential of the COMESA Digital Retail Payments Scheme. It embodies a collaborative effort to empower change, fostering a future where digital innovation bridges gaps and propels inclusive growth across the region.