Growth in SA outperforms SWIFT, secure financial messaging, global growth

Figures released ahead of SWIFT’s 23rd African Regional Conference shows South Africa has outperformed the total growth of SWIFT globally with significant traffic increase across treasury markets

SWIFT, is a global member-owned cooperative and is the secure messaging system banks use to exchange payment details.

In the year to date, message volumes grew by 13.7%, driven by a big increase in treasury traffic of 72.2%. Securities traffic is also up 16.4%. This illustrates that even through turbulent economic times, South African volume growth remains robust.

The rest of the continent has also seen major growth.

Total message traffic volumes have grown by 12.8% versus 5.4% growth for SWIFT worldwide this year, illustrating that Africa plays an increasingly important role in SWIFT’s global business. Levels of growth were also significantly higher than in EMEA at 3.2% and the Americas at 6.7% and closely behind Asia Pacific at 15%.

Hugo Smit, Head of Sub-Sahara Africa, SWIFT said: “Africa is an extremely important market for SWIFT. Even in the face of global economic challenges, the continent continues to outperform other regions and SWIFT’s global growth. We expect this trend to continue as African countries diversify their economies. SWIFT will continue to invest in its African business to support the local financial community.”

This growth is underpinned by a significant increase in securities and treasury traffic; securities rose by 15.6% while treasury traffic increased by 23.7%. Growth was even more pronounced in the South African Development Community (SADC), with securities traffic up by 16.6% and treasury by 56.1%.

Africa’s payment segment has also witnessed a strong rise in volumes, a reflection that many countries in Africa continue to see good economic growth despite a more challenging global environment. African payment traffic volumes grew by 11.6% versus 4.6% growth for SWIFT worldwide. Africa remains the fastest growing region for payments traffic, ahead of the Americas at 5.4%, EMEA at 4.4% and Asia Pacific at 4.3%.

The growth figures are the latest data showing a long-term growth trajectory for Africa. The payments business has grown 89% since 2011, significantly higher than total SWIFT payments growth of 50%. Compound annual growth for Africa since 1999 has been 16.1% year on year.

Sido Bestani, Head of Middle East, Turkey & Africa, SWIFT, highlighted the value of SWIFT data in the story it tells about African economies. “Through the development of the SWIFT index, we know that SWIFT data is closely correlated to economic activity. Rising SWIFT traffic volumes are therefore an indicator of economic growth. The data released today indicates strong but also long-term and sustainable economic growth across Africa.”

SWIFT will hold its 23rd African Regional Conference (ARC) from 17-19 May 2016 in Balaclava, Mauritius. The event will bring together over 400 policy makers, industry leaders and the broader financial community from across the African continent to discuss the most significant challenges and opportunities facing the continent. Discussions will focus on Megatrends, financial inclusion, the impact of financial crime compliance, the future of payments and the evolution of Africa’s capital markets.


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