SWIFT to Host Open API Hackathon for Cross-Border Payments

Open API Hackathon

SWIFT will hold an open API hackathon at its annual African Regional Conference (ARC) from April 21-23 in Cape Town, South Africa, the organisers have said.

The hackathon aims to identity new solutions to reduce cost in cross-border payments into and within Africa, a statement dated Wednesday. February 19, 2020 explained.

The hackathon is open to developers and engineers working in the financial sector who want to shape the future of Africa’s growing payments market.

Over two days, teams of developers will be given access to a combination of SWIFT and industry APIs in an open sandbox environment provided by SWIFT. They will be asked to develop solutions to concrete, real-world challenges currently facing the payments industry in Africa.

The teams will then pitch their work in front of an expert industry panel at ARC. The team that develops the most impactful solution will receive complimentary tickets to attend Sibos, SWIFT’s annual global financial conference taking place this year in Boston, USA in October.

All of the code produced by the teams will be published as open source, meaning it can be freely used by the African payments ecosystem to develop new solutions and services.

The hackathon comes at a time when the number of remittance payments going into and across Africa is increasing and value is moving across the continent more frequently than ever before.

However, the current ecosystem is fragmented and according to the World Bank, the costs of cross-border remittance payments into and within Africa are higher than the global average.

The hackathon will seek to address this challenge, using the latest API technologies and best developer talent to deliver new solutions that can be implemented across the continent.

The Innovation Manager at SWIFT, Nkiruka Uwaje, stated that, “There is a huge opportunity for financial institutions, fintechs and telcos operating across Africa to innovate with other ecosystem players and create new and ground-breaking solutions for the African market.

“SWIFT’s aim is to act as a catalyst for creative and entrepreneurial potential across Africa. We’re excited to welcome developers from a range of backgrounds and countries to Cape Town to explore the future of African payments.”

Head of Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Sido Bestani, noted that, “Africa’s financial ecosystem continues to evolve with financial institutions increasingly partnering with fintechs, mobile providers, retailers and more. As the industry comes under pressure to reduce the frictions of cross-border payments, SWIFT is excited to bring together developers from across the continent to address this challenge.”

SWIFT’s African Regional Conference (ARC) is an annual event for the African financial services community, bringing together more than 600 leading financial services professionals from across the continent and beyond.

A professional forum for the exchange of ideas and information, it provides a neutral space for banks, fintechs and other financial institutions to discuss the big trends and issues affecting the continent.

Developers from financial institutions, fintechs, telcos and universities in Africa who are interested in participating in the hackathon have been advised to contact Nkiruka.Uwaje@SWIFT.com for details.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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