Mauritius and Sri Lanka Link Up with Unified Payments Interface

On Monday 12 February 2024 during a virtual launch ceremony in the presence of Indian PM Narendra Modi, Mauritius and Sri Lanka officially linked up with India’s #FinTech gateway, called Unified Payments Interface (#UPI).

The UPI is a digital payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). It allows real-time payment within and across borders as long as the interbank payment switches are linked.

The system will facilitate tourists from Mauritius to India to pay via their smartphone without resorting to cash. Similarly, Indians visiting Mauritius can use their mobile payment app as payment option in Mauritius. The same goes for Sri Linka. This launch for Mauritius and Sri Lanka follows right after UPI was launched in France, Singapore and UAE.

During his speech, PM Modi disclosed that the project was raised last year when India held the G20 presidency and hosted the #G20 Summit. Today is the culmination of such discussions. The move is in line with India’s #NeighborhoodFirst and #SAGAR policies as both Sri Lanka and Mauritius are considered close neighbors and are actually located in the geostrategic regions of the Indian Ocean.

The UPI system registered over 100 billion transactions in 2023 with a cumulated value of INR 2 trillion (MUR 1 trillion or LKR 8 trillion). India is reputed for its ICT capabilities and the success of the UPI is built upon the strong ICT skills.

At the same time, #RuPay was also launched. Rupay is a global card payment network, similar to US Mastercard or China UnionPay. What it means is that Indian carrying RuPay bank cards can be used to take out cash from RuPay-enabled ATM in Mauritius or Sri Lanka.

“With this partnership, we aim to streamline the experiences of merchants visiting India and Indians visiting Mauritius, ensuring seamless and cost-effective payment processes. Unlike traditional systems with opaque commission structures, this new system offers transparency and efficiency in cross-border financial transactions. Our objective is to simplify the lives of individuals by leveraging digital solutions. Regarding exchange rates, a predefined mechanism has been established between the central banks of both countries to ensure fair consideration of exchange rates.”

Mauritius Central Bank Governor Harvesh Seesolam

Mauritius Central Bank Governor Harvesh Seegolam highlighted that the digital connection to #UPI strengthen the position of the Mauritius #IFC as one of the early adopters of FinTech and will greatly facilitate cross-border transactions.

Mauritian PM recalled that Mauritius and India concluded an #FTA called the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (#CECPA) that goes beyond just reinforcing bilateral trade. Using Mauritius as a gateway to Africa, India is condering to push UPI across the African continent.

“During my visit to India last year, a vision document was adopted by the two nations. Increasing the financial connectivity was a key part of it. Now, Sri Lanka can harness this digital payment infrastructure for the benefit of Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe