Africa’s stable banking system – which underpins the country’s economy – can only benefit from increased payments skills.

This the word from South African Reserve Bank deputy governor Daniel Mminele, speaking this morning at the launch of a new training course for the payments industry.

“The National Payments Systems (NPS) is one of the key pillars for stability, which plays a key role in the national economy,” he says.

“It is the lifeblood of any modern economy, as any failure in the payment system can have devastating effects on the country.”

Mminele adds that most people are unaware of the immense infrastructure that goes into making successful payments. “People are accustomed to the payment systems functioning on command, without interruptions and rarely consider the infrastructure required – the only time they are aware of it is when a system goes off-line.”

Stores of structural capital that have been built up over the years, such as strategies, policies, directives and processes, all contribute to the stability of the payments sector, he adds.

Human capital development, however, has typically been left to the individual institutions.

“One of the critical success factors is adequate human capital,” says Mminele. “And adequate skills are currently hard to come by.”

PASA (Payments Association of SA) today launched a National Payment Systems Foundational Course that will formalise payments training and promote skills development in the sector.

The course covers low-value retail payment systems and basic concepts from the high-value payments domain. It also includes areas such as payment concepts, governance, regulation, risk and innovation.

The programme is targeted at any payment practitioner who wants to gain a broad by robust foundational knowledge in payments.