Spire, a regional open banking provider, is set to expand its operations in Bahrain through a BD15 million (nearly $40m) investment plan, with support from the Economic Development Board (EDB), the national investment promotion agency.

The expansion will create 200 high-value data sciences and artificial intelligence jobs over the next three years.

Spire graduated from the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) regulatory sandbox and has been licensed to offer open banking services.

It established headquarters in Bahrain and is in the process of setting up a regional office in Saudi Arabia.

The company brings a strong international partner network including Salt Edge, a Canadian open banking player, and Mastercard to offer solutions that include open banking compliance, infrastructure and strategic financial management for banking customers and small businesses.

Spire says its mission is to “revolutionise financial data sharing as well as making money movement simple, secure, and fun.”

Commenting on the company’s expansion plans, Spire Technologies chariman Osama Al Khajah said: “Open banking will comprehensively change how banks and fintechs engage with the larger economy. Spire is empowering individuals and businesses and will directly help create more affordable and more innovative financial solutions. Bahrain was a natural choice for Spire to launch its Mena business given the kingdom’s strong regulatory framework, large talent pool and tremendous support from EDB and the central bank.”

According to Musab Abdullah, executive director of investment development for financial services, technology and innovation at the EDB, Spire’s success reflects Bahrain’s strong financial services ecosystem, including open banking services.

“We are pleased to support the company with its expansion and see it benefit from Bahrain’s pro-innovation regulatory framework and its collaborative ‘Team Bahrain’ approach,” he added.

Experts say open banking offers users a secure platform to share their banking information with other companies.

This gives them the ability to access different services in one place and view their current financial situation in a single application, potentially leading to savings, personalised products, as well as quicker, easier and transparent payments.

The $11 billion global open banking market is set to reach a value of more than $52bn by 2027.

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