Cross Border Payments in the Middle East: Gulf Cooperation Council Region by Richie Santosdiaz for The Fintech Times
Middle East & Africa Paytech Trending

Saudi Arabia One Step Closer to Achieving Its Vision 2030 With Thunes’ Expansion Into the Kingdom

Thunes, a global cross-border payments company, 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 is also in advanced stages to sign partnerships with local money transfer operators, e-wallets service providers, and banks.

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 per cent in 2025. Thunes 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.

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, SVP 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.”

MENA economic activity is gaining momentum and bucking the global trend of sluggish growth. Saudi Arabia’s economy grew 9.9 per cent in Q1 2022, 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, 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.


  • Francis is a journalist and our lead LatAm correspondent, with a BA in Classical Civilization, he has a specialist interest in North and South America.

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