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São Tomé and Príncipe Upgrades Payment System Following African Development Bank Loan Agreement

The African Development Bank signs a $3.2million loan agreement with the government of São Tomé and Príncipe to upgrade the national switch payment system. The upgrade will allow for automatic real-time gross settlement (RTGS) modules and automated clearing house (ACH) functionalities which strengthen the clearing and settlement of payments.

The African Development Bank has signed a $3.2million loan agreement with the African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe to upgrade the country’s national switch payment system that supports the clearing and settlement of country-wide high-value and retail payments.

This support includes the introduction of automatic RTGS modules and ACH capabilities. RTGS allows high-value transfers to be settled in real-time with the Central Bank, in turn reducing liquidity and credit risks within the system.

The agreement will also cultivate the adoption and wider accessibility of digital payments, mobile money and other digital services among the country’s 223,000 citizens.

São Tomé and Príncipe: payment system development

In March, the Bank’s board of directors approved the loan, which will disburse funds from the Nigerian Trust Fund. The Nigerian Trust Fund is one of the Bank’s self-sustaining revolving funds that aims to provide concessional financing to the Bank’s low-income regional member countries for their development.

The Bank previously supported the country with the procurement of an automatic transfer system (ATS) through a $2million grant made by the African Development Fund, its main concessional lending window, back in 2017.

On 23 March 2023, Ginésio da Mata, the Minister of Planning, Finance, and Blue Economy for São Tomé and Príncipe, and Pietro Toigo, the Bank country manager for Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe, attended a brief ceremony where they signed the agreement.

“This fund will facilitate the financial inclusion of the population and further digitalisation of financial services,” said da Mata.

Following this, Toigo added, ‘’We are delighted with the support of the Nigerian Government and the determination of São Tomé and Príncipe to integrate its financial system in the continental and global economy.”


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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