Partnership with The Business Year explores key themes shaping the industry

Dubai, UAE; 30 May 2024: Real consumer spending in the UAE is projected to increase by 5% year over year – one of the highest rates globally, according to the Mastercard East Arabia Division’s Special Report, “Towards a Connected Future: Innovation Fueling Transformation”.

Developed in partnership with The Business Year, the report explores the impact of digital transformation across the financial services industry and beyond in the East Arabia region that includes countries as diverse as the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Pakistan.

“This special report marks a positive outlook following the establishment of Mastercard’s East Arabia division – a clear indication of the incredible growth we see in this dynamic part of the world. Recognizing the region’s immense potential, Mastercard’s recent divisional restructure is part of our refreshed organizational design that focuses on fast-tracking growth, strengthening stakeholder engagement and enhancing our multi-rail capabilities in key markets,” said J.K. Khalil, Division President, East Arabia, Mastercard.

“With huge disparities in GDP, population, and size, it could be easy to overlook the commonalities between the region’s countries. The golden thread that connects them is an appetite for digital disruption driven by technology. These markets are all embracing a digital future, and a rise in fintech, bourgeoning SME landscapes and progressive governments are leading to a bright and connected tomorrow,” he added.

The report brings to life insights from global and local Mastercard leadership to map the state of the evolving payments landscape in the region and examine the key themes shaping its future – from geopolitical and economic trends to shifts in consumer behavior.

The report sets the scene with overall economic outlook for the rest of 2024 from the Mastercard Economics Institute, which reveals that most markets in East Arabia should see continued normalization in inflation rates. The report highlights tourism as a bright spot, especially in the GCC region, which has become one of the world’s fastest-growing destinations.

The document also takes stock of Mastercard’s achievements in advancing digital transformation, driving payment innovation and boosting financial inclusion.

Showcasing a shift in consumer expectations and an increasing need for more flexible payments, the report underscores high awareness of installment solutions as a budgeting tool. Last year, the technology giant marked the debut of the Mastercard Installments program in the EEMEA region with the launch of the SlicePay card in collaboration with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) under its Dubai First trademark.

The report further emphasizes the importance of public-private partnerships in the development of the sector. Mastercard’s milestones in government collaboration include the launch of the Digital City Partnership with Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) and the opening of the Center for Advanced AI and Cyber Technology in Dubai with the UAE Prime Minister’s Office. In Pakistan, Mastercard also signed a strategic agreement with the Punjab Central Business District Development Authority (PCBDDA) to turn the community into a cashless economic zone by deploying innovative smart city solutions.

The full report can be downloaded here.


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