Growth in Africa outperforms SWIFT global growth

Figures released at SWIFT’s 21st African Regional Conference provide more evidence of Africa’s growth and long term trends

Marrakech, 26 June 2014 – Data from SWIFT show that its business in Africa has outperformed the total growth of the business globally. In the year to date, African volumes grew by more than 16% versus 10% growth for SWIFT worldwide, highlighting the vitality of the region.

The continent’s growth was particularly marked in the payments markets, where volumes rose by almost 21% versus just 8% worldwide. Looking at SWIFT traffic at a country level, many have experienced a startling pace of growth. In Nigeria, for example, payments traffic grew by almost 42% in the past 12 months and by a staggering 353% in the past four years.

Speaking at the African Regional Conference (ARC), being held this year in Marrakesh, Hugo Smit, Head of Africa South, SWIFT, says: “Africa is an increasingly important market for SWIFT. Again this year it has outperformed most of our other regions and has proven itself a vital component of our business globally. Most importantly, we know that the continent has huge growth potential, so we are committed to dedicating more resources, services and opportunities to the local financial community.”

Smit also stressed the value of SWIFT data in the story it tells. “SWIFT data has been independently validated to be closely correlated to economic activity through the development of the SWIFT Index*,” says Hugo Smit, Head of Africa South. “Rising SWIFT traffic volumes are therefore an indicator of economic growth. The figures revealed today show strong organic growth across Africa and in Nigeria particularly, and serve as validation of the positive growth trends we are witnessing in the region.

The growth figures are the latest data showing a long-term growth trajectory with Africa’s total SWIFT traffic rising by 63% over the last four years, compared to the total growth of SWIIFT traffic globally of 36%. Payments have been the locomotive of this long-term growth, with a 75% rise over four years (versus 37% globally) but securities also significantly outperformed, with a rise of 52% across Africa versus 41% globally in the same time period.

North African growth has not been as strong as the rest of the continent, struggling to recover to the same levels following the Arab Spring; for example, SWIFT traffic growth for Morocco for the full year 2013 was just 2.7% compared to 39.5% in 2011. However, volumes are beginning to recover – with 5.8% in the year to date – and the long term trends is very positive, with 49% growth in four years.

SIDO Bestani, Head of Middle East & North Africa, said: “It’s clear that North Africa has not yet recovered to its earlier growth levels, but the positive story is that volumes are coming back. It’s also important to note that in Morocco, for example, payments growth is very similar to that in Europe, and that securities traffic growth is aligned with Africa. So taking a broader view, the trend in Morocco is very positive.”

Source: SWIFT

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