The COMESA Business Council (CBC) in partnership with the Trade and Development Bank (TDB) convened a high level Public-Private Dialogue, under the theme, “Towards the COMESA Digital Integrated Common Payment Policy for Micro Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) on 20th January 2021 in Kigali, Rwanda.
The public-private dialogue brought together nine pilot-study countries, Central Bank Governors, Ministers of Finance, ICT Regulators, manufacturers, Mobile Network Operators, commercial banks and MSMEs to consider and validate the COMESA Digital Integrated Common Payment Policy and Framework for SMEs.
During the dialogue, deliberations attached great importance to partnerships, regulatory dialogue and consumer protection as key success factors for the digital financial inclusion of SMEs.
Speaking during the official opening ceremony, Assistant Secretary General in charge of Programmes Amb. Dr. Kipyego Cheluget said the formulation of the policy on Digital Integrated Common Payment will be the foundation of an infrastructure that supports African SMEs to grow into prosperous businesses over the coming years.
We’ve seen a willingness from competitive forces in the industry to prepare a strong pathway that will facilitate eased digital payments across markets.,” said Amb. Cheluget added.
CBC Board Chairperson Mr. Marday Venkatasamy disclosed that digital payment system platform dividend for COMESA and Africa at large, can be enormous with potential gains in growth of regional trade (sourcing and supply) which is currently below 20%. “But turning this vast potential into reality will require the collective efforts of our governments, the private sector, and development partners,” he added.
CBC has been implementing the Digital Financial Inclusion Program to support the design, development and deployment of an integrated digital financial services infrastructure that is low-cost and fraud resistant, that serves Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, particularly women and youth, who are at the bottom of the financial pyramid.
At the same event, the Trade and Development Bank (TDB) president, Admassu Tadesse, pointed out that financial inclusion involves multiple stakeholders, from policymakers and regulators to private industry, including employers, educational systems, communities and individuals.
The meeting noted that facilitating and promoting MSMEs’ participation in Digital Financial Inclusion can accrue benefits such as economic growth, macroeconomic policy effectiveness and job creation.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Rwanda Mr. Michel Sebera and the Chairman of the Rwanda Private Sector Federation, Mr. Robert Bafakulera, and also attended the dialogue.
The Draft Model Policy Regulation Guidelines/Rulebook for a digital integrated regional common payments scheme for SMEs was presented and validated during the public-private dialogue. National committee meetings will precede a second validation meeting of the edited report of the common policy framework.