Fintech Galaxy has acquired the Egyptian open banking platform Underlie for an undisclosed sum.
The Dubai-based financial technology firm announced the acquisition in a press release on Thursday (Dec. 22) stating that “the deal will help to set [its] Open Finance and Open Banking wheels in full motion across the region, develop and launch new digital solutions and push financial inclusion forward.”
To varying degrees, many countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are adopting open banking, which Fintech Galaxy has made a key pillar of its growth strategy in the region.
While Bahrain is known as MENA’s open banking leader, thanks to its early adoption of a legislative framework in the style of Europe’s PSD2, other countries in the region have followed.
In October last year, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) adopted new regulations governing the country’s instant payments network (IPN).
Reflecting the rising importance of mobile payments in the Egyptian economy, the new regulations allow approved mobile apps to provide payment services and instant transfers.
“Customers will be able, through the new network, to complete transfers within a few seconds, on weekdays and during official holidays using various electronic payment tools issued by Egyptian banks,” the CBE’s deputy governor Rami Aboul Naga said in the statement at the time.
With the IPN regulation in place, a growing number of Egyptian banks have published open banking Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), allowing companies like Underlie to weave together the country’s nascent open banking ecosystem.
Commenting on the latest acquisition, Riyadh Al Zamil, chairman of Fintech Galaxy’s Board of Directors and Investors, said that “Underlie’s expertise in building Open Banking APIs and knowledge of the local market will help us speed up our Egypt market penetration.”
Fintech Galaxy founder and CEO Mirna Sleiman added that “the acquisition of Underlie anchors our Open Banking/Open Finance efforts and enables us to succeed in providing enhanced, seamless, and enjoyable financial experiences, expanding, and consolidating our position across the MENA markets.”
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