The Arab Payment and Securities Settlement Initiative (API) was launched in Cairo in 2005, 2005, following a request from the central banks of the countries of the Middle East and Northern Africa. The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank jointly lead the API. The AMF is acting as a secretariat for the Committee and for the finalization of the public country reports.
The objective of the API is twofold: (i) to enhance the soundness and efficiency of the national payment and securities settlement systems in the Arab countries; and (ii) to promote regional cooperation among public authorities, central bankers and securities regulators, in the field of payment and securities clearing and settlement systems. In order to achieve this objective, a permanent Arab Payment and Settlement Systems Committee was set up. One of the main tasks of this committee is to undertake a comprehensive review of the payment and securities infrastructure of each country. The aim is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the national systems and to agree on an action plan for enhancements.
To carry out the API mandate, leading international organizations, central banks and securities regulators are sponsoring an International Advisory Council (IAC). The IAC provides technical guidance in defining methodologies for conducting studies, carrying out assessments of national payment and securities clearing and settlement systems, and providing specific technical assistance.