Interswitch calls on African countries to harness gains in improved transport and payment systems –

As the leading digital payment company in Africa, Interswitch has called on various stakeholders on the continent to develop better transport infrastructure and systems as well as strengthen payment systems to ease the burden associated with the sector.

Interswitch in an article titled: “Sustaining Nigeria’s Transport Sector Using Technology”, the recommended upgrade approach will help to properly connect markets across the continent and achieve the overarching goal of a prosperous continent.

Already, the leading digital payment company has highlighted that some of its brands have continued to improve cross-border payments, citing Quickteller, a borderless digital payment solution service and Verve card, a payment card issued in 8 African countries and accepted in more than 22 countries. on the continent.

He revealed that the services and products have facilitated payment between African traders and removed barriers to transactions.

“To take full advantage of this untapped market, countries should develop better transport infrastructure and systems and strengthen payment systems to reduce the accompanying stress, which will help to properly connect markets across the continent and achieve the overarching goal of a prosperous continent,” Interswitch said.

The company pointed out that huge opportunities abound in the transport sector, saying that to exploit them, a concerted effort by public and private sector stakeholders is needed to ensure seamless experiences for consumers, while moving goods, services, people. and cross-border payments.

The need for digitization in the transport sector, he said, has become notable during the heat of the pandemic, as innovators devised new ways of doing business without the need for physical contact between individuals, saying this has been particularly observed in the logistics sector which has seen more companies adopt technological solutions while minimizing physical contact.

“In developed countries, other solutions such as robotics, drones, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) have quickly replaced humans to reduce human contact and by extension , the spread of the virus”, notes the cabinet.

Interswitch said all of these points underscore that technology can drive changes in business operations across the rail, sea, air and road modes of transportation.

He noted that technology has continued to prove itself as a force to be reckoned with, adding that this is evident in the unprecedented changes it has produced in all sectors and in the transport sector in Nigeria.

“These perceived and observed changes have led to a steady increase in its use, as the digitalization of processes in various economic districts has become not only widely accepted but even encouraged,” the article asserts.

Interswitch pointed out that the effect of the innovation on the country’s transportation sector would increase accessibility to secure payment methods and the resulting convenience for commuters.

The company recalled that in the third quarter of last year, the economic performance report released by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) claimed that growth in the non-oil sector could not be overlooked, with the transport sector making also significant leaps. during the quarter, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in Nigeria in the third quarter of 2021.

“The modes of transportation that made these impressive contributions to the economy were rail and pipeline transportation (59.93%), air transportation (33.31%), road transportation (21.11%) and water transport (16.30%). For a country of over 200 million people, the need for robust transport cannot be overstated,” he said.

Following this, Interswitch said the decision of the Federal Government’s FG was a guide to put in place initiatives to close the gap in the transport sector through a multimodal transport system, noting that the Government of the Lagos State has embarked on its own ambitious multimodal transport system. in an effort to elevate the state to smart city status.

He recalled that the Lagos State Government has confirmed that there are funds to complete the various projects including the establishment of rail lines for intra-city travel and other works that will put in place the proper infrastructure for an efficient transportation system in the state.

This, he also recounted, informed the State Transportation Festival, which was held on December 13, 2021, attracting public and private sector stakeholders to discuss the way forward to improve the Nigeria’s transportation system.

The event, he said, focused on all aspects of transport, including road, rail, logistics and ports, highlighting the importance of cross-sector partnership to develop the transport sector. transport.

The article noted: “It would be almost remiss if there were no mention of intra-African trade through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which should facilitate stronger trade relations between the countries of the African continent. With this in mind, experts have highlighted deficits in the transport sector that could prevent Nigeria – Africa’s current main economy – from reaching its full potential, relegating it behind other smaller African nations with better systems. in place “.

He quotes Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi at a 2-day conference where he announced that the federal government has taken the transport sector seriously, saying, “The transport sector is the most critical in implementation of trade facilitation, improved integration is key to all other AfCFTA protocols. Hence, the Nigerian government has embarked on huge investments in transport infrastructure across the country to ensure the efficiency of the transport sector.

Despite this, Interswitch noted, “The ever-fluctuating and dollar-dependent exchange rate system on the continent remains a challenge to trade on the continent, stating that to address this, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) , in collaboration with the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) developed the Pan-African Payments and Settlement System (PAPSS) to facilitate cross-border payments between traders in Africa, which would involve participating central banks.

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