UAE government partners with Mastercard to advance AI agenda

24 April 2023 3 min. read

The UAE’s Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications Office has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mastercard, aimed at increase artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities and readiness in the region.

At the signing ceremony, Omar Sultan Al Olama, minister of state for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications emphasized the UAE government’s dedicated efforts towards strategic collaborations with the private sector and leading international companies, describing them as “pivotal catalysts for expediting the adoption of artificial intelligence.”

Such partnerships are part of the aspirations outlined in the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031, which strives to consolidate and expand the UAE’s position as a leading hub for artificial intelligence.

The signing of this partnership comes as Mastercard unveiled its latest global Center for Advanced AI and Cyber Technology in Dubai. In addition to developing AI-powered solutions to fight financial crime, the center will focus on securing the digital ecosystem and driving inclusive growth. 

The hub will also support the nurturing and hiring of local AI talent, including data engineers and data scientists, with a remit to accelerate AI innovation globally and service customers all around the world from the UAE.

“AI plays a critical role in our operations, powering our products and fueling our network intelligence to improve digital experiences while reducing financial fraud and risk,” said Ajay Bhalla, President for Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard. “The combination of this latest Advanced AI Center and our partnership with the government of the UAE will deliver greater value for our customers and ultimately reinforce trust in the digital ecosystem.”

Mastercard’s new center – drawing on the company’s technical knowledge and expertise – will support a new Innovation Hub in the Emirate of Dubai. Under this program, governments and businesses from across the region will collaborate on new efforts to support the continued digital transformation.

“The UAE is a global leader in developing innovative technologies to foster economic growth and drive digital transformation. For more than 35 years, Mastercard has been investing in the UAE to harness the power of technology for the good of the nation,” said Dimitrios Dosis, President of Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Mastercard.

“By embracing the power of AI through this new partnership, we are ushering in the next generation of transformative technology, and actively supporting the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031.”

Technological shift

The Middle East is undergoing a rapid technological shift. According to IDC, investments in digital transformation are expected to double over the next few years in the Middle East.

PwC meanwhile estimates that AI will contribute $320 billion to the region and more than $15 trillion to the global economy by 2030. AI has the power to address some of today’s most pressing challenges, including reducing fraud while helping more people access financial services.

Heritage of AI innovation 

The new Center in Dubai is the latest in a series of investments Mastercard has made in Advanced AI, with existing centers in the United States, Canada and India. To date, Mastercard has made use of AI most significantly and successfully in its efforts to enhance cybersecurity and user experiences. By applying a sophisticated AI engine, Mastercard protects more than 125 billion transactions from fraud every year – at speed and scale.

The company is also adopting generative AI to improve its services and operations. Mastercard is using generative AI for many purposes, including through synthetic transaction data to supercharge fraud detection and boost approval rates. The company said its center in Dubai will help us develop these new and groundbreaking use cases.