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Exclusive: Singapore’s Thunes and Standard Bank in advanced talks to extend African payments

By David Whitehouse

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Posted on August 12, 2022 02:00

An employee works in Nairobi
Africa lags behind the rest of the world in real-time payments capacity. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

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, Thunes senior vice-president for Africa Sandra Yao tells The Africa Report.

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, Yao says.

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.

Africa lags behind the rest of the world in terms of real-time remittances. Last year, according to ACI Worldwide, 20 African states remained absent from any kind of real-time payments system.

In South Africa, real-time payments accounted for only 0.8%

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