The Pan-African Payments and Settlement System (PAPSS) launched on Thursday, 13 January in Ghana, leaders say, will provide African traders a faster and safer mode of payment, among other things. The new system allows a buyer in one African country to make a payment in his or her national currency and a seller in another country receives payment in his or her own national currency, effectively eliminating the need for third party currencies such as the United States dollar to complete trade within the continent. Ade Ayeyemi, CEO of Ecobank Group, noted that instant payment is critical as it enables people in Africa “to be able to transact across the continent without the need to say, ‘where do I get the currency to buy from?’” For the very first time, traders will be able to pay and receive payment in their local currencies, thereby removing the cost of acquiring “hard currencies.” Its virtual launch, held under the theme ‘Connecting Payments, Accelerating Africa’s trade’, came following a “successful pilot” in six countries – The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Payment infrastructure always existed but on the national and sub-regional levels, they lacked crucial ingredients such as interoperability. The system has been piloted and tested and “proved to work,” using African currencies, said Mike Ogbalu, the CEO of PAPSS.