South African born company Perago, with software development offices in Pretoria and now part of the SIA-SSB Group company specialising in infrastructures for central banks, has won the tender issued by the Palestine Monetary Authority (PMA) to design and develop the new interbank payments technology infrastructure in Palestine.

The creation of the new interbank payments system is a strategic development towards the Palestinian State as it constitutes the basis for the establishment of a modern financial infrastructure.
It will enable the efficient clearing and settlement of payments within the banking system in Palestine, providing a resilient and secure platform for the development of the financial services industry to the benefit of the entire Palestinian business community.
The new payments technology infrastructure envisaged for Palestine will be the world’s first implementation of a packaged solution capable of processing both wholesale and retail payments, offering RTGS (Real-Time Gross Settlement) as well as retail payments clearing functionalities, within the same system.
The integration of these two requirements is complaint with the recent guidelines issued by the World Bank, aimed at promoting the concept of a single platform for clearing and settlement of interbank payments within a national economy characterized by limited volumes (so called ATS- Automated Transfer System).
The RTGS system, thanks to the advanced features and flexibility of the SIA-SSB Group’s Perago:rtgs software, will fully automate and manage in real-time the payments flows exchanged across the banks accounts.
Currently, there are 20 banks (10 of which are foreign) operating in the Palestinian territories offering access to the banking system through a network of 205 offices.
The infrastructure is expected to process a daily average of around 10 000 payments.
The Palestinian payments system will reach levels of technology that are on par with those of the most advanced economies, allowing for the development of further innovative services such as online banking and mobile banking.
Thanks to its advanced multi-currency capability, the new system will be able to manage all four currencies currently accepted within Palestine on the same platform. The currencies initially catered for are the Euro, US Dollar, Israeli Shekel and Jordanian Dinar.
It is envisaged that the project will be completed during the course of 2010.
“The project started up in Palestine by Perago, is confirmation of the fact that the Mediterranean region is an area of exceptional growth potential,” comments Renzo Vaneti, CEO of SIA-SSB and chairman of Perago. “The countries in this region are increasingly focusing on technological innovation as the means to develop the local economies.
"In this scenario, the clearing and settlement system that Perago will deliver to the PMA takes on a strategic significance: from a business perspective, a state-of-the-art payments infrastructure is a crucial asset in the success of economic development and international cooperation, contributing the creation of the keenly anticipated free-trade area. This project can also be further and positive step towards the peace process.”
Phillip Tromp, CEO of Perago, believes that the Palestinian project provides Perago with an exceptional opportunity to make a meaningful contribution by supporting the PMA in their efforts to create a stable and robust financial system in Palestine.
”Financial infrastructure is as key to an emerging financial industry as it is to an established economy,” adds Tromp.
“The initiative in Palestine will provide a strong backbone to the economy, giving certainty and finality to financial transactions and enabling the introduction of electronic payment instruments by the banks, for their customers."