Central Africa: Payment Services Within CEMAC - Stakeholders Learn Innovative Regulations

A sensitization workshop to this effect held in N'Djamena yesterday July 22, 2019 at the behest of the Central African Banking Commission, COBAC.

Officials of banking institutions operating within the Central African Monetary and Economic Community, CEMAC, have gotten abreast with fresh rules related to diverse payment services (mobile payment, bank transfers, prepaid cards, direct deposits... ) and should logically henceforth provide improved services to multifaceted customers seeking their services daily.

Innovative rules related to better control and surveillance of banking operations within the sub region, drafted by the Central African Banking Commission, in view of modernizing the sector for the good of customers and the entire sub regional economies, were explained in detail to the respective officials of banking institutions in a workshop for better implementation on the field.

In a speech during the opening ceremony in N'Djamena yesterday, the Governor of the Bank for Central African States (BEAC), Abbas Mahamat Tolli, who doubles as the Chairman of COBAC said the desire to modernize the banking operation in the sub region, combat money laundry and limit the financing of terrorism pushed COBAC to undertake the reforms. Reason why he said, its implementation should be rigorous.

Technological innovations that ignited metamorphosis in the configuration of payment systems within the banks, Mr Tolli noted, have not left any sector indifferent and there was no way COBAC, the gendarme of the sub regional banking institutions, could remain in the old school especially with innovative mobile banking which the Governor of BEAC said has developed so fast in recent years.

Thus, the need to revise the 2003 and 2011 laws related to payment services within CEMAC so as to align with the innovation. What Has Changed? The innovative regulation under vulgarization at the N'Djamena workshop clarifies the roles and responsibilities of COBAC and BEAC in terms of supervision and surveillance respectively.

Banking institutions have, by the new rule, been categorized into credit institutions, microfinance institutions and payment institutions with a general denomination "Payment Service Providers." As COBAC supervises the Payment Service Provision, dishing out sanctions where and when need be, BEAC on its part ensures surveillance on the conformity, security and technical solutions for the supply of payment services. The new text stipulates that the exercise of banking services or their extension, as the case may be, within the sub region is subject to prior information and authorization from COBAC.

For the benefit of customers, the new rule indicates that in case a banking institution runs out of business or its license is withdrawn, the money owed customers will have to be reimbursed but in case the funds are not claimed, they will simply be put in the State coffers.