29 September 2014

EMEA: Still evolving, still growing

The EMEA region sits at the heart of SWIFT's business, containing many of SWIFT's biggest markets. But even if EMEA holds some of SWIFT's most mature markets, it still has huge scope for growth and development, whether through finding solutions to industry challenges or in expanding into new and growing markets.

Market-based initiatives are a major driver for industry change, not least in Europe, where initiatives such as Target2 Securities (T2S) and the Single Euro Payments Area are transforming the financial industry and reshaping business models. SWIFT in EMEA has grasped these opportunities.

The impact of T2S on all market participants will be profound. In the creation of a single settlement infrastructure, thereby cutting costs and increasing competition, T2S will wholly restructure the European securities settlement and post-trade services environment.

SWIFT has been quick to respond to this tectonic shift and has successfully carved out a role for itself in the emerging landscape as a Value Added Network provider. It is also continuing to support the community as it prepares for the T2S go-live date in 2015, such as through standards consulting at the Bundesbank for T2S itself, as well as for the implementation of T2S at market participants such as BNY Mellon.

Importantly, EMEA is not just mature markets; it also contains some of the world's most vibrant developing economies. Africa alone boasts seven of the top 10 fastest growing countries. Here, SWIFT is continuing to expand and is helping to support the development of Africa's financial markets infrastructure. We are working closely with a number of critical regional harmonisation projects, including the South African Development Community, and moving deeper into the continent's domestic payments and securities markets.

In Nigeria, for example, now the biggest economy in Africa, the RTGS went live on SWIFT in December 2013. Nigeria was already experiencing huge organic FIN traffic growth, +42% in the 12 months to June 2014, but domestic RTGS volumes have pushed up payments growth by a staggering 166% in the same period. This has helped Nigeria to achieve the highest sent traffic growth, of 98.5%, amongst the top 50 countries on SWIFT.  

These and many other examples demonstrate that EMEA remains an important engine for growth within SWIFT. More importantly, they show that the EMEA business continues to evolve and to deliver what the industry needs.

For more SWIFT news stories from Sibos, visit the Sibos website.