With $78 billion in remittances in 2020 from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) combined, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is home to two of the top three remittance corridors in the world.
The region is also undergoing a fast-moving shift to digital and boasts one of the world’s most progressive financial regulatory environments.
Today, Ripple announced its continuing contribution to this hotbed of fintech innovation with the first ever in-market On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) deployment in the Middle East. Through a partnership with international blockchain-based financial services company Pyypl, the two will bring instant, low-cost remittances to the area, starting with the UAE.
Faster, Cheaper Remittances
Traditional remittances are often plagued by slow, expensive and opaque transactions. For the many people that rely on these funds to cover rent, living expenses or one of life’s many emergencies, a delayed or missing payment can be catastrophic.
Using ODL and leveraging XRP, Pyypl will provide instant, low-cost remittance options for people sending money into and out of the region (note: XRP will not be held within the UAE and transactions will not involve the currency AED as part of the payment flow). This is part of Pyypl’s larger mission to enable digital payments for the one billion financially underserved smartphone users in the Middle East and Africa at large.
Beyond customer-facing services, Pyypl will also use ODL to eliminate the need for the costly pre-funded accounts normally required in traditional cross-border payments. Calling these legacy accounts an “inefficient use of capital,” Pyypl’s co-founder and CEO Antti Arponen said unlocking these previously trapped funds can help better grow and scale the business.
Ripple Accelerates MENA Momentum
This announcement builds on Ripple’s already growing presence in the region. In 2020, Ripple established a regional headquarters in Dubai to support our customers, like Qatar National Bank and Al Ansari Exchange in the UAE - which are our most recent additions on the network - that are using RippleNet to improve cross-border payments.
All of this is driving a record year for Ripple in MENA, with RippleNet already logging four times the transaction volume year-to-date versus all of 2020.
MENA’s Commitment to Innovation
These milestones and financial advances are possible because of the forward-thinking regulatory bodies in the region that have cleared the path for this type of innovation to thrive. Countries like the UAE that understand the need to modernize global payments have taken a progressive stance relative to the use of new technologies and products in coming to market.
RippleNet Managing Director in APAC and MENA Brooks Entwistle said he is encouraged by the progress to date and excited about the future because leaders in the region are hyper-focused on paving the way for necessary financial improvements.