Tuesday 26, September 2017 by Georgina Enzer

Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and Visa partner to support fintech development in the Middle East

Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), the regulatory body for Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO), the integrated free zone technology park, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with global payments technology company, Visa, to jointly support innovative start-ups and exchange knowledge of emerging technologies.

The MoU was signed by Shahla Ahmed Abdulrazak, Deputy CEO of DSOA, and Ihab Ayoub, Visa General Manager for Middle East and North Africa, in the presence of senior management representatives from both sides.

As per the MoU, the two parties shall raise awareness about innovation and emerging technologies in the field of payment solutions through shared events, workshops, and hackathons. Furthermore, the MoU facilitates networking between specialists from both entities as well as knowledge exchange in their respective areas of expertise.

The partnership offers DSOA access to Visa’s global innovation network and the opportunity to recommend qualified start-ups from Dubai Technology Entrepreneurship Centre (Dtec) – its wholly owned technology incubation centre and the largest of its kind in the region - for the Visa Venture programme, the company’s in-house venture capital arm which invests in early-stage technology startups. In return, Visa can enjoy access to Dtec and the start-ups based within, with the option to refer suitable candidates to the facility.

“DSOA is keen on forging agreements with International and global institutions to support the creation of an ecosystem that encourages development of new ideas and innovation, as well as enhancing the technology entrepreneurship landscape in the Middle East. In line with our leadership’s ambitions to transform Dubai into the smartest and happiest city in the world and complementing our government’s strong focus on innovation, we have noted smart payment solutions as one of the key areas for development,” Shahla Abdulrazak, said.  “A recent report by leading professional services company Accenture noted that the global FinTech sector has attracted more than $50 billion in investments since 2010. However, only around one per cent of that amount has found its way to the Middle East and North Africa. We are confident that our MoU with Visa will boost investments in payment solutions and provide a foundation for advancing start-ups in this space.”

Ihab Ayoub, Visa General Manager for Middle East and North Africa, said: “With its proven track record as a highly attractive destination for technology entrepreneurs, Dubai Silicon Oasis is an ideal partner for our regional expansion. Combining the technical knowledge and capacity of Visa with the passion and innovation found in UAE’s burgeoning Fintech sector, we hope to educate and, potentially, support some of the start-ups at Dtec to develop new smart payment solutions, pushing the UAE towards becoming a cashless society over time.”

A wholly owned entity of the government of Dubai, DSO operates as a free zone technology park for large enterprises as well as medium and small companies looking to set up their offices in Dubai.

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