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02.01.23Press Release

CBK Announces Joining of the Second Group of Banks to GCC Cross-border Payment System (AFAQ)

Following its efforts to develop the cross-border payment systems and deploy advanced technologies with the aim to enhance efficiency, minimize reliance on the financial systems and external payment platforms and reduce cost, the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) announced that the second group of local banks joined the GCC Cross-border Payment System (AFAQ) in the State of Kuwait.

This came in a statement of the Governor of the CBK, Basel A. Al-Haroon in which he indicated that the second phase included the joining of 6 Kuwaiti banks, namely National bank of Kuwait, Kuwaiti Finance House, Ahli United Bank, Commercial Bank of Kuwait, Burgan Bank and Kuwait Industrial Bank, having completed all the required tests and procedures.

CBK announced in March 2022 that the first phase included the Central Bank of Kuwait and Boubyan Bank, and it would continue its efforts to facilitate the phased joining of the other local banks to AFAQ subject to completion of the security and technical tests required for the planned linkage within the preset timeframe.

The Governor added that AFAQ is optimized to process remittances in local GCC and other currencies in a short time and at reduced costs to customers in a safe and stable environment, and is part of a regional infrastructure operated and developed by Gulf Payments Company for the GCC joint regional payment systems, by providing a real-time settlement system between GCC central banks, supporting dealing in the local GCC currencies, facilitating clearing and financial settlements and ensuring prompt processing of cash transfers while maintaining their standard formats and protection. This shall help strengthen the GCC joint payment systems and develop appropriate strategies to avoid financial risks and achieve economic and financial integration in GCC States.

The Governor concluded by emphasizing that CBK is keen to adopt the latest technologies that help enhance efficiency and security of payment systems, and maintain monetary stability and financial stability in the country.

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