The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) has announced that its Buna payment platform has conducted the first cross-border transaction in UAE Dirham (AED), between the UAE’s Mashreq Bank and Egypt’s Banque Misr.
The transfer marks the start of full operation of the Buna platform, which is affiliated to the AMF-owned Regional Entity for Clearing and Settlement of Intra-Arab Payments.
Abdul Rahman bin Abdullah Al Hamidi, Director General and Chairperson of the AMF, said, “We are proud and happy to announce that the Buna payment platform system is now operating at full capacity, and is able to provide clearing and settlement services for cross-border payments in international and Arab currencies that meet eligibility requirements.”
“In real time, the success of the first payment process is strong evidence of our commitment to follow our plan despite the difficult circumstances and unprecedented challenges at the global level,” he added, “It also constitutes additional confirmation of the platform’s ability to carry out its operational activity within the specified requirements, and in accordance with international standards and principles.”
Al Hamidi also said that this success would not have been possible without the continued support of Arab central banks, and the AMF’s continuous endeavour to expand its network of participating banks and settlement currencies.
“Our focus will always be on providing modern payment solutions throughout the Arab region and beyond, in line with international standards, principles and requirements,” he said.
Banque Misr Chairperson Mohamed El Etreby said, “Given the pioneering position of Banque Misr, and its constant eagerness to support efforts to create an Arab payment platform, the bank welcomes being part of Buna, which is the first regional payment system that links financial infrastructure with main commercial partners of the Arab world.”
He added, “The results of our association with Buna, as a participating bank, will not only enhance the level of services provided by Banque Misr, but will also help us provide a wide and additional range of products and services that meet the needs of our current and future customers.”
El Etreby noted that this comes in addition to strengthening Banque Misr’s leadership in the sector, as one of the first banks to participate in the platform.
For his part, Mashreq Bank CEO Ahmed Abdel Aal said, “Mashreq Bank would like to commend the AMF’s vision in launching the Buna Arab Payments platform, to achieve a pivotal change in the reality of the payments industry in the Arab region.”
“The AMF has a distinct vision that combines empowering intra-Arab payments and providing the integration requirements with regional infrastructures in other markets,” Abdel Aal also said, “This is thanks to a wide range of solutions provided by the Fund through a central payment platform that provides clearing and settlement services.”
He added that these features would enhance the level of consistency and standardisation, contributing to an expansion in global coverage and making cross-border payments faster and safer.
Buna is expecting more than 120 banks to join its network. It is working to expand the list of Arab and international currencies that meet eligibility requirements, and to achieve its vision to empower Arab economies.
This would come in addition to enhancing regional financial integration by encouraging the use of Arab currencies in clearing and settling financial transactions and cross-border investment. It will also create links with the Arab world’s main trading partners.