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Sierra Leone News: Bank of Sierra Leone Holds Second seminar on the National Switch

The Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) and the Sierra Leone Association of Commercial Banks(SLACB) held the second seminar for the construction of a National Switch on January 21 at the Bank of Sierra Leone Complex in Kingtom, Freetown. The Switch will allow for the interconnectivity of commercial banks. Already, BSL has contracted Altarra Group based in Switzerland to guide the bank in the implementation of the process. Altarra Group has the experience about operating the National Switch in Ghana, Nigeria and a host of countries in East Africa including Rwanda, Kenya major IT and commercial hubs on the African continent.
BSL launched the National Switch project on the 24th November 2015 and this project is expected to last for 12 months. The project is funded by the central bank, the commercial banks and the World Bank, Governor Momodu Kargbo of the Bank of Sierra Leone said on November 24.
There are 13 commercial banks in the country but only 6 have Automated Teller Machines and only 4 have Point of Sale terminals, the President of SLACB repeated after stating the same figures on November 24 last year.
Eric Holst-Roness leader of the Atarra delegation to Sierra Leone said the ratio of people to an ATM is 100,000 to one ATM in Sierra Leone compared to Myanmar that has 2 ATMs to 100,000 people. Mr. Holst Roness gave a presentation together with his colleagues on the operations of the National Switch and how relevant it is for the economy.
It will make doing business more reliable and efficient, provide comfort and convenience for the investor, reduce fraud and boost financial inclusion among others. It will also provide valuable data and access to new markets, the Atarra delegation said in their presentation.
The completion of the National Switch will reduce the long queues in the banking halls and travellers will only need to travel around with their Visa cards. It will also reduce the time spent on a financial transaction.
The Bank of Sierra Leone is still on course to having a national switch but too early to conclude the bank will have it up and running at the end of 2016.
Monday January 25, 2016

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