'Enhancing Digital and Global Infrastructures in Cross-border Payments': a webinar on the future of payments

On 27 and 28 September, within the framework of the Italian Presidency of the G20, Banca d'Italia will host an international webinar entitled 'Enhancing Digital and Global Infrastructures in Cross-border Payments'. Among the participants are Banca d'Italia's Governor, Ignazio Visco, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, and Fabio Panetta, member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank.

The theme of the conference is only apparently 'technical'. In reality, the issue of cross-border payments has major repercussions for the daily lives of billions of people. In recent years, factors such as increasing tourist and migratory flows and the spread of e-commerce (in a word, globalization) have driven growing demand for payments between different nations. According to unofficial estimates, these payments could be worth 130,000 billion dollars in 2020. The issue has therefore been on the G20's agenda for some time.

Under the presidency of Saudi Arabia, the G20 made improving cross-border payments a top priority of its agenda and mandated the Financial Stability Board (FSB), in coordination with the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI), to develop a roadmap to overcome the frictions that affect cross-border payments. The roadmap was endorsed by the G20 in October 2020; the Italian Presidency, which took over from the Saudi one on 1 December, confirmed the priorities identified.

The work has continued throughout 2021. One fundamental step was the setting of quantitative global targets for costs, speed of execution, transparency and access. The aim is for cross-border payments to achieve these goals by end-2027, with the exception of the remittance cost target, where a 2030 date has already been set as a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) and endorsed by the G20. In the meantime, the other actions of the roadmap have progressed as planned.

Once the roadmap has been fully implemented, it will be possible to exchange funds worldwide in a reasonable timeframe and at costs not dissimilar to those currently borne at domestic level.

The Banca d'Italia strongly supports the work of the roadmap and the conference organized on 27 and 28 September is further evidence of its commitment in this field and, more generally, of the Italian G20 Presidency's commitment to its implementation.

The conference brings together policymakers, representatives from central banks, international organizations and other public bodies, industry participants and academics. It features several sessions, including a roundtable with the chairpersons of the work streams in charge of developing the roadmap, who will review the progress made to date and chart the way forward.

One of the scheduled sessions is of particular importance for Banca d'Italia: it is dedicated to the results of the recent experimentation aimed at interconnecting TIPS - the Eurosystem platform for settling instant payments in central bank money, developed and managed by Banca d'Italia - with BUNA IPS, the counterpart system managed by the Arab Monetary Fund. SWIFT, Banca Intesa Sanpaolo and Ahli Bank (Jordan) also took part in the experiment.

The webinar will be video streamed live on the Bank of Italy's YouTube channel.