Speech of Buna's CEO, Mr. Mehdi Manaa during the Inauguration of Buna at the World Governments Summit

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE for officially inaugurating Buna.

I would also like to thank Their Excellencies Mohamed Hadi Al Hussaini, Minister of State for Financial Affairs, Fahad Alturki, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Buna, Fabio Panetta, Governor of Banca d’Italia and Chairman of the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) for their inspiring speeches, and Their Excellencies Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates, Lorenzo Fanara Ambassador of Italy to the UAE and Hana Al Rostamani, Group CEO of the First Abu Dhabi Bank for their presence and support.

Esteemed guests,

Giving and receiving money is a common act in our daily life. It allows individuals to meet some of their most critical needs and economies to function and develop. To support that, payments solutions have evolved over multiple centuries to reach a level of unprecedent speed and efficiency, but most of these achievements were contained to payments occurring within national boundaries.

Cross-border payments still suffer from lack of speed, high costs, difficulties accessing them and lack of transparency. In the era of globalized economy, physical goods may take less time to be delivered to their destinations than for the underlying electronic payment to reach its final recipient.

Buna is here to change that!

Buna has the uniqueness of processing cross-border payments directly between the payer and the payee in multiple currencies. This has been made possible thanks to robust compliance and risk management features that have been imbedded in the system to align with global standards and the highest Anti Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing requirements.

With its streamlined approach, Buna can deliver payments in real-time safely and at a very effective cost, making cross-border payments as efficient as domestic payments.

Six currencies are already available to process payments in Buna. That includes 4 Arab currencies (AED, EGP, SAR and JOD) to promote their use in cross-border payments. It also includes the two most employed international currencies, the US dollar and the euro. More Arab and international currencies will be added soon.

Banks are recognizing the value of Buna. They subscribe to its vision promoting an Arab region that is more integrated financially and better connected to its global partners. This will support financial inclusion, diversify business opportunities and reinforce economic growth and development. 108 banks from 14 different countries are already using Buna and more than 150 others from the Arab region and from beyond are preparing to onboard.

Buna is of significance to people, corporates and governments alike. It reduces the costs and enhances the efficiency and the experience of all.

Individuals can better support their families when they are working abroad, buy goods more safely when they are travelling or using digital commerce and manage their loans and savings across borders more effectively.

Corporates will be able to benefit from the advantages of the secure and real-time payments that Buna provides for their bills, collections and disbursements to optimize their cash management and increase trade and business opportunities.

Buna will also allow governments to extend efficiently their services to their citizens living aboard and benefitting from public pension schemes, scholarships or healthcare payments, among many other possible services.

Buna is a promise for a stronger Arab world. It empowers Arab economies by making them more integrated and better connected with their global partners. In this context, Buna has already launched multiple initiatives to interlink its solution with other payment systems around the globe to facilitate investments, trade and cooperation with different countries and regions.

The current inefficiencies in cross-border payments are a global issue. They are impediments to financial inclusion, to business and investment opportunities and to more effective collaboration between countries and regions. The G20, recognizing the importance of this issue, has made its roadmap for enhancing cross-border payments one of its key priorities. Buna comes as a tangible contribution to these global efforts.

Buna makes “Payment as it should be!”, more transparent, easier to access, faster and less costly.

Thank you very much for your presence in this event and for your attention.

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