The Southern African Development Community (SADC) expects to add the US Dollar as an additional currency of settlement on the SADC Integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System (SIRESS) by October this year, to further ease intra-regional trade.

At the moment, the South African Rand is the settlement currency for the SIRESS, which is a regional electronic payment system that SADC member states developed to settle cross-border transactions faster without having to rely on intermediary banks from outside the region.

SADC executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax said progress was being made to eventually transform the SIRESS into a multi-currency settlement system.

The platform, established in 2013, allows for SIRESS participating banks to facilitate and settle regional transactions within SADC countries on a gross basis and in real-time.

The system is operated by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) on behalf of the SADC Committee of Central Bank Governors, with SARB also acting as the settlement bank.

Currently there are ten participating countries including South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Malawi, Mauritius, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Seychelles with a total of 72 participating banks, made up of seven central banks and 65 commercial ones.

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