Thunes, a Singapore-based cross-border payments company, announced Wednesday that it is accelerating the expansion of its services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, setting up an office in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and appointing a new country head – Ahmad Yaacoub.

Thunes said in a statement that it is also in advanced stages to sign partnerships with local Money Transfer Operators, e-wallets service providers, and banks.

According to the statement, Saudi Arabia’s digital payments market is evolving fast to keep pace with the Kingdom’s “Vision 2030”, which aims to increase the number of cashless transactions to 70 percent in 2025.

Thunes, therefore, is looking to be part of Vision 2030 and will work closely with local partners, helping them achieve a great customer experience by enabling instant borderless payments across the globe for their retail and business customers.

Thunes said the newly appointed Country Head for Saudi Arabia (KSA) Ahmad Yaacoub has extensive experience in the mobile payments and e-commerce sectors, coming from Tiqmo, a Saudi Arabian mobile payment service provider, and, an Amazon company, where he was running Business Development and Commercial Strategy for the market.

“I am very excited to be appointed as Thunes Country Head for Saudi Arabia. Thunes’ payments network and advanced technology capabilities have everything to support this booming digital economy,

“I really believe that bringing our payments network and advanced technology capabilities into this market will help accelerate growth for digital wallets, banks, money transfer operators and super-apps,” said Ahmad Yaacoub, Country Head for Saudi Arabia (KSA), Thunes.

Simon Nelson, Senior Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), said :“Saudi Arabia continues to undertake a rapid transformation towards a digital economy in an accelerated time period; it is a booming economy with a quickly developing digital infrastructure and evolving fintech scene, and Thunes is excited to be part of it.”

“This expansion aligns with Thunes’ commitment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, GCC and broader region and our focus on increasing access to financial and payments services to more people around the world,” he added.

According to the statement, MENA economic activity is gaining momentum and bucking the global trend of sluggish growth. Saudi Arabia’s economy grew 9.9 percent in the first quarter, the fastest pace in a decade, driven by higher oil prices and business-friendly reforms.

At the same time, significant shifts are rapidly transforming the region’s digital economy. Government initiatives that support digital transformation, such as “Vision 2030” in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s “Projects of the 50” campaign and “Digital Egypt”, have led to an increase in the number of fintechs and mobile payment players in the region, broadening access to digital financial tools.

Founded in 2016, Thunes is a business to business (B2B) company that powers payments for the world’s fastest-growing businesses – from gig economy giants such as Uber and Deliveroo and Southeast Asia’s super-app Grab to global Fintech leaders such as PayPal and Remitly.

The firm currently supports 79 currencies, enables payments to 130 countries, and helps to accept 300 payment methods.

In April 2022, Thunes acquired a controlling stake in a leading AML and compliance platform company Tookitaki, which now enables the company’s advanced compliance, anti-fraud, and anti-money laundering (AML) capabilities, setting an international benchmark for sustainable compliance.

The company is headquartered in Singapore, with regional offices in London, Paris, Shanghai, New York, Dubai, Nairobi, Arizona, and Barcelona.

Singapore’s Thunes takes majority stake in AML and compliance platform Tookitaki in $20M deal