April 19, 2023

Silk Road: FMI Transformation will Unlock the True Potential of this Fast-Growing Region

We were honoured to sponsor the inaugural Silk Road Cash & Payments Conference last month in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Welcoming delegates from 66 organisations and 19 Central Banks, spanning 32 countries, the conference created an engaging platform for networking and collaboration among an ambitious global financial community.

A Market with True Heritage

The mammoth Silk Road region has for centuries been at the forefront of international trade, historically linking the Eastern and Western world and powering business across the globe.

Over the years, regions such as India, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central Asia, have each progressed at different speeds with their own domestic payment and financial market infrastructures. What became clear from last month’s conference was that central banks across the region recognise a need to upgrade their financial market infrastructures on both a domestic and international level.

A Unified Agenda

Across the region, central banks are focused on fundamentally re-designing and re-building how money is moved cross-border today. Specifically, there is a clear and urgent need to further modernise the instant domestic payments environment and update the legacy cross-border payments systems, which are plagued with inefficiencies.

Every central bank advocates the necessity to modernise payments and financial market infrastructures; they have an interest in supporting international trade, not just with neighbouring countries but with the rest of the world.

Crucially, central banks recognise the need for standardisation and interoperability between various financial market infrastructures - both those which exist today and those which will emerge in the future - and share a desire for upgrading infrastructures across different domains – from retail payments, to card payments, to increasing financial inclusion within their respective societies.

A Journey of Change

Each country in the Silk Road region is at a different stage of their journeys of technological development, and therefore the starting point of an upgrade will be different for each of them.

Some have progressed further than others. India’s domestic payments infrastructure, for instance, is notably advanced, but it now needs to develop its international connectivity. Central Asian markets have a unique opportunity to leapfrog other jurisdictions as they harness the latest innovations in cloud computing and other technologies to reimagine what financial infrastructure looks like.

There is a real appetite among central banks across the Silk Road region to have the freedom to trade internationally with complete efficiency, which is where new technology solutions come to the fore.

Unlocking Silk Road’s Potential through Technology

At, we work hard every day to help address the high cost and inefficiencies still restricting global cross-border payments, and the frictions in existing processes contributing to them.

We were delighted to speak with central banks from across the Silk Road region last month and bring to life our service model, which is built to enable immediate cross-border payment-versus-payment settlement of FX transactions in all currencies 24 x 7 x 365, safely, and securely. In taking what works well, but improving on it, we have built a new FMI which not only solves today’s challenges but is adaptable enough to accommodate the payments landscape of the future; a must in this ever-evolving space.

We are committed to removing friction from cross-border payments and championing innovation in international payment processing. This involves overhauling centuries-old infrastructure and dated practices to help central banks keep pace with the expectations of a digital economy. Our multi-jurisdictional architecture can be deployed across a wide range of FX products and currency corridors, including currencies in fast-growing emerging markets like India, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central Asia, which have historically been excluded from multi-lateral settlement facilities.

We are here to support the global banking community in fostering new mechanisms for stimulating prosperous economic growth across the world, and look forward to continuing to support our friends in the Silk Road region to help unlock the true potential of its rapidly growing economies.

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