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Ethiopia Could Join Russia's New Independent International Payment System, Ambassador Says

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Ethiopian flags - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.06.2022
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Ethiopia could plug into the prospective international payment system analogous to SWIFT which Russia is currently negotiating with Turkey, India and other countries, to facilitate transactions in national currencies, Ethiopian Ambassador to Russia Alemayehu Tegenu Aargau told Sputnik on Tuesday.

"If it is established with Turkey, with China, and with some other countries, it will work for Africa, it is not a problem," the ambassador said, when asked whether Ethiopia was considering joining the new payment system.

The feature of universal convertibility is what could give the prospective payment system a particular edge, regardless of what currency is designated as the base, the ambassador believes.

"That could be whatever currency it is, but it has to be convertible. You have to exchange where you will go. For example, with currencies like my country's currency birr, I cannot use it here in Russia... If the money is convertible in other countries, it is possible to use, it is not a problem," he said.

Integrating a feature like that would require agreements between governments within international or national financial systems, but ultimately, it would facilitate trade and tourism, at least in Ethiopia, the ambassador said.
Turkey and Venezuela will send their central bank officials to the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) this week to discuss banking with Russia, among other things, the forum's organiser, Roscongress, said.
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Ethiopia's minister for innovation and technology will attend the SPIEF from June 15-18 too, the ambassador, who will also be in attendance, said.
Russia was threatened with disconnection from SWIFT as part of Western sanctions imposed on it for its special military operation in Ukraine.
The Bank of Russia developed its own domestic payment system called Mir in 2015, on the heels of a different sanctions campaign against the country at the time. Amid new restrictions this year, Moscow negotiated acceptance of its Mir cards in several foreign countries, including Turkey and Vietnam.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said in May that Russia and Iran had agreed to start mutually settling payments in national currencies and discussed the possibility of accepting each other's Mir and Shetab bank cards.
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