Abu Dhabi and London - Buna, the cross-border and multi-currency payment system owned by the Arab Monetary Fund, has announced that it has plans to launch instant payments, in addition to trade finance solutions, securities settlement and ATM/ POS processing service, at a later stage. This growing list of innovative solutions will complement Buna’s current offering of multi-currency cross-border interbank payments, commercial payments, and consumer remittances.
Mehdi Manaa, Chief Executive Officer of Buna, made the announcement recently during his exclusive March session at Sibos, the leading annual financial services event organised by SWIFT. During the session “Transforming a regional payment landscape”, Manaa shared his thoughts on the positive impact of the cross-border payments system on participating banks in the Arab region and beyond and presented the added value that Buna is bringing to the payments industry by improving the speed, cost-effectiveness and transparency of cross-border payments flows in regional and key international currencies.
Buna has already onboarded four currencies since its launch 12 months ago by the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF). These are the Emirati Dirham, the Egyptian Pound, the Saudi Riyal and the US Dollar. The system first live payment was executed in UAE Dirhams last December. Manaa revealed imminent plans to onboard the Euro and the Jordanian Dinar. So far, approximately 90 banks from the Arab region are being onboarded out of more than 130 that are in various stages of preparation.
Buna was launched and created as a regional payments market infrastructure that aims to deliver advanced, secured, and highly efficient payment solutions, and can cater to the growing needs of financial institutions and their diversified client base in the region and beyond, without any geographical or technical barriers. In doing this, Buna is working closely with SWIFT, which can provide not only the reach that Buna needs, but also the highest security and availability. As Buna grows and continues to evolve its services, it will continue to work with SWIFT to enhance the value proposition of Buna’s payments system by enabling instant payments capabilities.
A key aim of the initiative, strongly supported by the region’s central banks, is to advance the growth and integration of Arab economies. To this end, Buna is transforming the payment scene, by serving as a single-entry point to the region’s financial systems for global financial institutions, as well as a multi-currency and multi-instrument system for local ones.
“We can’t think about a well-functioning economy without the support of appropriate payment solutions,” Manaa explained at his SIBOS session. “It’s a virtuous circle. Buna is supporting the economic growth of the region, and the economic growth of the region will support Buna.”
Manaa said Buna strongly advocates public-private sector collaboration, supports the ISO 15022 and 20022 message standards, and enjoys interoperability with existing systems, currencies, and instruments.
“This is a transformation, for the benefit of the economies of the region, empowering them to increase integration. Business models that would benefit from integration will see a lot of value in the system,” said Manaa.
He highlighted the advantages of Buna which extend to banks outside the region. “Offering a single access point to a broad region through a single market infrastructure, with efficiency, speed and low costs, is a huge change. For any trading partner, it makes cross-border payments and access to the region as simple as for a single country,” he concluded.
© Press Release 2021