Dubai, UAE, October 14 2021 – Mastercard has signed a strategic digital country partnership with the Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA) in Pakistan to expand the nation’s digital economy and advance Pakistan’s technology sector. The MOU was signed in the United Arab Emirates in line with the start of Expo 2020 Dubai, where Dr. Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan, met with Khalid Elgibali, Division President for the Middle East and North Africa at Mastercard, and a delegation from STZA and Mastercard.

In collaboration with the STZA, Mastercard will develop Pakistan’s first cashless Special Technology Zone and deploy smart city solutions, support small and medium enterprises, boost artificial intelligence and cybersecurity capabilities, and promote the use of agritech.

The STZA has been created by the Federal Government of Pakistan, setting out to provide a world-class digital and physical infrastructure through the development of Special Technology Zones (STZs) across the country. It is a national strategy that aims to place Pakistan on the global technology map.

“As a fundamental enabler of inclusive economic growth, the Special Technology Zones Authority is charged with delivering on key strategic goals of inclusive socio-economic development and economic opportunity, particularly for our youth. Having signed a digital country partnership with Pakistan, Mastercard will now play an important role in developing our country’s first cash-free zone and in contributing to Pakistan’s technology sector,” said Arif Alvi, President of Pakistan.

“Partnering with Pakistan’s Special Technology Zones Authority allows us to join forces with its leadership to further advance the country’s digital economy and drive inclusion for all. I wish to thank the Honorable President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi, for his vision and for allowing Mastercard to give back to the people and businesses of Pakistan as we build deeper digital capabilities. Mastercard believes in the power of public-private partnerships to unleash the potential of national economies and we are excited to embark on this next chapter as we work towards a more connected Pakistan,” said Khalid Elgibali, Division President, Middle East and North Africa, Mastercard.

STZA will work closely with Mastercard as it expands its national footprint to facilitate inclusive growth and innovation in STZs across the country. In addition to enabling innovation and enterprise, the partnership will see the deployment of the very latest digital payment solutions to ease cross-border payments, accelerate the flow of trade, and embed powerful new cyber security capabilities within digital infrastructures.

“Having Mastercard on board as a strategic partner will help us to deploy best-in-class digital payments infrastructure, which our innovators, SMEs, and the wider digital economy rely upon. I am very much looking forward to working with our partners at Mastercard to boost our exciting national technology strategy,” said Amer Hashmi Chairman of the STZA.