SWIFT’s growth in Africa up by 11% outpacing global growth rate of 10%.
Growth in financial transactions messaging system SWIFT’s traffic volumes in Africa has accelerated by double-digit percentages this year as banks expand rapidly and non-financial institutions join the industry cooperative.
Expansion in Africa in the past year was up 11%, led by Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria and average global SWIFT traffic growth so far this year is running at 10%.
In the Middle East growth in the year up to the end of August was 12%, with double-digit expansion in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates helping offset a decline in Lebanon, Iraq and Libya.
The Middle East and Africa represents more than 4% of total volumes, a level that should rise as both regions historically grow at a faster pace than the rest of the world.
Banks in the Middle East and Africa have been expanding both within and outside their borders in recent years.
Through acquisitions, Qatar National Bank, the largest bank in the Gulf Arab region, has expanded into Egypt and several other African markets, while South Africa-based Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by assets, has built a presence in 20 countries including Nigeria, Angola and Mozambique.
In Africa, banks have been adding more clients in a country where the proportion of the population without a bank account totals as much as 80% in sub-Saharan Africa.
There are more traction from some African communities with centralised decision-making, for example the central bank of Ghana demanding services for complying with sanctions to all banks.
More non-financial institution companies are also joining.
In the Middle East, around 50 such firms have joined, enabling them to handle cash management, trade and supply chain business through the system.
But SWIFT expects one of the main areas for future expansion to be the securities markets, where a lot of payments and settlement instructions are currently sent manually.
In the Middle East and Africa, including Turkey, payments represent 57% of information sent through SWIFT, with securities forming 30% of the total data.