India in talks for UPI expansion in Africa

NEW DELHI : India is in talks with a number of African countries, including Namibia, Mozambique and Kenya, to help develop its Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and to conclude commercial partnerships between payments platforms, according to persons aware of the matter.

This push comes after Ritesh Shukla, International CEO of the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which developed UPI, stated that the number of countries where UPI is live will double in the next 12-18 months.

“There are many countries in the world which have similar problems we had before the advent of UPI. These are financial inclusion, supporting rural economies, fintech incubation, transparency and other things. We are looking at partnering with those countries to help them create their own versions of UPI in a very sovereign manner,” he told Mint earlier in August.

In recent years, India has marketed its signature UPI platform to a number of developing countries. India follows two strategies to boost UPI’s global footprint. The first is to help build platforms and digital infrastructure for partner nations. The second is to sign commercial partnerships and linkages with existing platforms in foreign countries to make life easier for Indian travelers and migrants.

“We have about 30 million Indians who live outside India. They send about $100 billion every year. Today, this experience is very, very fragmented, depending on which part of the world you live in. We are trying to see how we can standardize this whole user-experience,” Shukla said

The push comes as part of an effort to project the country as a voice for the interests of developing nations in global forums.

In June, India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Sierra Leone and Suriname on sharing its DPI solutions. Mint reported earlier that India is also in talks with a number of other developing countries in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, to extend these DPI partnerships.

India’s neighbours have also adopted UPI in recent years. Nepal and Bhutan use the platform while Sri Lanka is expected to operationalise UPI in the coming months. This year, India and Singapore linked their payments systems to allow for an easier flow of remittances.

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Updated: 27 Aug 2023, 10:20 PM IST

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