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Global Remittance Firm Taps into Standard Bank’s Network

Singapore-based cross-border payments provider Thunes is in “advanced talks” with Africa’s largest bank, Standard Bank, to extend its coverage on the continent. The planned partnership will help Thunes to expand its presence in some of the 35 sub-Saharan countries where it operates, as well as add new markets, Yao says from the company’s regional head office in Nairobi. Thunes aims to add 13 new sub-Saharan countries by the end of 2023 and has identified Angola and Namibia as priority new markets for entry, says Sandra Yao Thunes senior vice-president. The company, led by CEO Peter De Caluwe, was set up in 2016 and offers payments to 126 countries globally. Remittances can be made instantly from international Thunes partners to African countries such as Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania which have a “real-time switch” for bank transfers. In South Africa, real-time funds accounted for less than 0.8% of complete funds. The continent has greater than 170 mobile-money wallets, most of which can not “speak” to one another. Over 80% of the continent’s cross-border funds should be routed offshore for clearing and settlement, elevating prices and slowing commerce: funds can take between two to 14 days to finish. Thunes shouldn’t be restricted to remittances. Relying on the native laws in every nation, “pay out” partnerships have the potential to be prolonged to incorporate “pay in”, Yao says. That will enable Africans to ship in addition to obtain worldwide funds through Thunes.