Data from SWIFT shows that Africa’s traffic growth has outperformed the total growth of SWIFT globally. In the year to date, total message traffic volumes grew by 15.2% versus 6.4% growth for SWIFT worldwide, illustrating that Africa plays an increasingly important role in SWIFT’s global business.
Levels of growth were also significantly higher than in EMEA overall at 8.5% and the Americas at 5.7%. This is not the first time that Africa has outperformed SWIFT global growth. In the same time period in 2016, for example, African volumes rose by 12.8% versus 5.4% global growth.
Growth in Africa is underpinned by a significant increase in payments traffic. This indicates that, despite challenging global conditions including the downturn in the commodities cycle that has significantly impacted several markets, many countries in Africa continue to see relatively stable economic growth. African payment traffic volumes grew by 16.9% versus 11.6% for the same period last year. Growth was even more pronounced in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which saw growth of 21.6%.
Africa remains the fastest growing region for payments traffic, ahead of the Americas at 11.1%, EMEA at 9.2% and Asia Pacific at 9.6%.
The African securities segment has also witnessed a strong rise in volumes. Securities traffic grew by 14.6%. Compound annual growth for Africa since 2012 has been 13% year on year.
The SWIFT Index, a methodology for anticipating GDP growth by combining global payments data with actual quarterly GDP growth figures, indicates 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 a long-term growth trajectory for Africa.
Denis Kruger, Head of Sub-Sahara Africa, SWIFT said: “Africa remains a significant growth area for SWIFT. Traffic volumes are impressive despite challenging economic conditions. As African countries continue to diversify their economies to drive growth, SWIFT is working closely with the financial community to support them in developing the right solutions to meet their needs.”
African transaction corridors – that illustrate payment or securities messages sent from one African country directly to another – are becoming more important. SWIFT data shows that, in the year to date, 55% of the traffic sent from Africa stayed within the African zone, up by 13% on the same period last year. This trend was more pronounced in securities traffic, where 68% of traffic sent from Africa is intra-regional.