CBK Joins GCC Payments System (AFAQ)
The Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) joined the GCC cross-border payment system (AFAQ) that connects Real Time Gross Settlement Systems (RTGSS) of GCC member states. The first phase of which had been launched by Gulf Payments Company (GPC) and aims to develop cross-border payments, enhance efficiency, provide cost-effective rates and reduce the reliance on external financial systems and networks.
CBK Governor Dr. Mohammad Y. Al-Hashel said GCC central banks’ joint effort and creation of GPC had now come into fruition with the initiation of AFAQ system, which is part of a regional payments infrastructure developed for use by member states. It provides an interbank RTGSS and facilitates highly secure transactions and settlements. This, he noted, enables the drawing up of suitable strategies to avert all types of financial risk as well as increases financial and economic integration within the GCC.
Dr. Al-Hashel reiterated that AFAQ, which would include all GCC central banks within the year, aims to facilitate rapid and safe inter-GCC transfers in both GCC and other currencies, at cost effective rates.
The CBK had already initiated the process of enrolling local Kuwaiti banks into the platform; the first phase saw Boubyan Bank complete all measures and conduct all tests required to join the system. Work is underway to ensure the remaining banks complete their enrollment process once all the technical and security tests for the linkage are completed within the specified timeframe.