Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mastercard, a global leader in payment innovation and technology, to form a Digital City Partnership to further accelerate the emirate’s economic growth in line with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33.

A global first at a city level, the strategic alliance paves the way for Dubai to harness Mastercard’s multi-rail payments network and data-driven digital commerce technology, which connects over 100 million merchants globally across all sectors and segments to address key priorities of the D33 Agenda.

The MoU will lead to the development and implementation of a multi-year Digital Partnership programme in Dubai, focusing on:

Enabling growth of trade and exports: The collaboration aims to enable new international trade opportunities for businesses and expand export capabilities, leveraging Mastercard’s expertise in facilitating secure and efficient payment transactions.

Developing SMEs and enabling innovation: The partnership will prioritise the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), providing them with digital tools, resources, and mentorship to foster innovation, competitiveness, and sustainability.

Attracting and developing talent: Dubai and Mastercard will work together to attract and nurture Emirati and global talents in the digital sector, fostering the development of a skilled workforce equipped with the capabilities necessary to drive the city's digital economy forward.

Accelerating growth across the tourism ecosystem: The Digital City Partnership aims to leverage digital technologies to further enhance Dubai’s tourism industry. Implementing innovative payment solutions and improving visitor experiences will support Dubai’s vision to become a top-three global destination for visitors across leisure, business and specialised services.

The visionary commitment of Dubai’s leadership, coupled with the depth and magnitude of this digital partnership, provides a conducive environment to deliver scalable and inclusive use-cases of modern payment rails and interoperability. This is in line with Mastercard’s vision of powering economies and empowering people, building a sustainable world where everyone prospers.

The MoU was signed by Hadi Badri, CEO of Dubai Economic Development Corporation at DET, and J.K. Khalil, Cluster General Manager, MENA East at Mastercard.

Hadi Badri commented, “This Digital City Partnership with Mastercard, a renowned global brand, comes at a pivotal time, as we are focused on delivering the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda 2033, driven under the guidance of our visionary leadership to further reinforce the city’s central position in the global economy. Through this strategic alliance, we are partnering with a global connector of digital payments to further strengthen Dubai’s position as the world’s most connected city. Mastercard has a track record of successful partnerships with companies across a broad range of sectors and segments, and this initiative signifies a new paradigm of economic collaboration at the city level. Through this partnership, Mastercard will mobilise its global resources and extensive experience as a global digital leader to unlock the city’s potential in line with the D33 Agenda.

“This partnership underlines the unique model of collaboration between the government and private sectors in Dubai, and aligns seamlessly with the city’s accelerated programmes for economic and digital transformation. The MoU is also a testament to the trust and confidence that multinational corporations have in Dubai and will further boost efforts to position Dubai as the best city in the world to visit, live, work, and invest in.”

J.K. Khalil added, “ We are delighted to enter the region’s first Digital City partnership with the Department of Economy and Tourism as we harness the power of our advanced technology to help translate Dubai’s ambitious vision to reality. We are proud to build on our 35-year legacy in the market as we usher in a new chapter to support the UAE’s exemplary growth story.”

The Digital City Partnership between DET and Mastercard is set to enhance Dubai's future readiness by taking advantage of digital technologies and global best practices. As the city aspires to remain at the forefront of innovation and technology, focusing on emerging sectors and robust financial and payment industries, Dubai's strategic geographic location and unrivalled connectivity will also cement its position as a premier destination for business, investment and tourism.