Volante Technologies, the global leader in cloud payments and financial messaging, on 5th September announced that, according to new original research, banks and fintech firms in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) are planning more investment in payments modernization over the next 2 years than any other region in the world.
Data from the report Payments Modernization: The Big Survey 2022, published by Finextra in collaboration with Volante, indicates that the beginning of 2022 has been an incredibly busy period for payments modernization, propelled by mandates at the national and cross-border infrastructure level, and the drive towards instant / real-time payments.
The survey elicited the highest proportion of responses confirming modernization plans in the 1-2 year timeframe from MEA (22.3%) compared with the rest of the world. Although COVID put a number of projects on hold at the start of 2021, planning for payments modernization was well underway at that stage and led to this flurry of activity in 2022, according to the report.
The conversation at 2 recent exclusive round table events hosted by Volante in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, in partnership with MEA Finance Magazine confirmed this finding. Speaking at the Dubai event, Anand Sampath, Executive Director and Head, Global Payables and Receivables, Abu Dhabi Bank said, "banks need to…ride the wave, from the perspective of making sure that we work with this modernization of payments."
Speaking at the MEA Finance Magazine, Modernization of the Payment Landscape roundtable earlier this year, Sameer Nemazie, Director, Transaction Banking MENA at Standard Chartered Bank, highlighted the role of regulators in driving payments modernization through mandates, citing Bahrain's rollout of instant payments as a success "because…the entire infrastructure is the central bank itself."
An important underpinning factor for competitive differentiation is the shift to cloud and Payments as a Service (PaaS) technology, which accelerates speed to market in the MEA region through the development of value-added services.
Abdulrahman Al-Khereji, Bank Al Jazira's Senior Program Manager, predicted that the use of cloud-based solutions would help banks in the region serve more clients while eliminating the legacy systems that have been in use for decades. "Cloud computing," he said, "offers a dynamic platform to develop, trial and offer innovative services in the financial service industry – payments included."
Vijay Oddiraju, CEO at Volante Technologies, said: "Our discussions with MEA financial institutions clearly show that there is now a race towards becoming real-time 24/7 in the MEA payments space, and the future is taking payments into the cloud. We are committed to investing our time and resources in MEA, working as trusted partners to banks in the region to ensure they are ready with the right payments modernization technology: micro services enabled, highly configurable, real-time, API enabled, ISO 20022 fluent, and powered by low-code."
Volante Technologies recently won the "Most Innovative Payment Solutions Provider" for the second year running at the MEA Finance Banking Technology Awards, 2022, and the "Best Cloud Service Provider" recognition in 2021. The company also has the distinction of processing the first-ever end-to-end real-time payment in Saudi Arabia.