Press Release

The EXPO-nential impact of partnership

September 1, 2021 | By Amnah Ajmal
Forbes Middle East: Feature around Expo 2020 Dubai September 2021 By Mastercard’s Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development MEA

Forbes Middle East: Feature around Expo 2020 Dubai September 2021 By Mastercard’s Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development MEA

In 2013, when Dubai won the bid to host Expo 2020 Dubai, the celebration and excitement in the air was palpable. World Expos have provided a platform to showcase the greatest innovations that have shaped the world we live in today.

Now, as Expo 2020 Dubai is upon us, revealing how it is connecting minds and creating the future, the element that really stands out for me, is partnership. The can-do collaborations. The co-creations. Inclusive solutions that are born from diverse perspectives. Ultimately, it is partnerships that are necessary to bring the wonder to life, the innovation to reality, the ideas to fruition, and to elevate the feeling that there really is a chance for an exponentially better tomorrow.

Partnerships can bring real change and have far-reaching impact for consumers, businesses, and society as a whole.

For many years, long before we became the Official Payment Technology Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, Mastercard has been partnering across the public-private sector sphere. In partnerships that range in scale and size, we create connections, share insights, and develop solutions. Our goal is to include everyone in a sustainable economy educate entrepreneurs, grow small businesses, identify consumer pain points, and activate the contributions of our entire network to secure a thriving world beyond cash.

Powering partnerships with technology

As a premier partner, we are doing all this and more as we invite millions of visitors on an expedition to explore the technology of the future. From virtual reality and face recognition to voice shopping, wearables and artificial intelligence, this is where the most fascinating developments for the digital economy are happening.

By showcasing the impact and potential scale of this exciting range of new payment technologies at Expo 2020 Dubai, Mastercard will enable millions of people to experience the future of payments. It represents the beginning of the next era of innovation, where new opportunities in technology are unlocking doors to a Priceless tomorrow.

None of this can be done in isolation. It is through partnerships that the value of technology is often demonstrated best.

Revolutionizing the snack shopping experience with PepsiCo

Among many other things, Expo 2020 Dubai will be the place for a glimpse into the future of retail. Using the power of this global platform to forge strong partnerships, PepsiCo has partnered with Mastercard to develop real-world technology solutions that meet the growing consumer demand for more autonomy and digital shopping experiences. The result of this collaboration is Pepsi Go: an AI-powered, unmanned store offering a seamless, contactless, invisible checkout. It will first open its doors at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Powered by Mastercard’s industry-leading payment technology customers start their journey by tapping, inserting, or swiping a valid payment card to open the kiosk’s doors. Once inside, the store uses artificial intelligence and computer recognition technology to track the PepsiCo snacks and beverages shoppers select. To check out, customers simply exit the gates, and the Mastercard Payment Gateway Services technology automatically initiates the payment, making checkout queues a thing of the past.

Fueling growth for women entrepreneurs with Female Fusion

Female Fusion, another collaboration at the world’s largest cultural gathering, will unlock opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Mastercard is partnering with Female Fusion, which is the region’s largest network for women-owned businesses,  to host a series of activities at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Women’s Pavilion, designed to accelerate women’s impact in creating a better world.

The focus will be on knowledge-sharing workshops, networking sessions and mentoring events, accessible exclusively to women-owned businesses, that will empower and educate them to build, grow digitally, and scale their businesses in an evolving digital economy. Inspiring guests will include Sarah Beydoun, owner of a social impact fashion business in Lebanon, who was also featured in FIVE, Mastercard award-winning documentary tracking the stories of five women entrepreneurs.

Last year, Mastercard committed to a direct focus in connecting 25 million women entrepreneurs globally with support and digital tools. Partnerships are crucial to reach these women, activate their important contributions, and drive inclusive growth.

Value-driven solutions for non-traditional partners

Expanding connections, enhancing the value chain, solving pain points, optimizing efficiencies, growing as a business, advancing a frictionless user experience – these are all reasons why a diverse range of companies come to Mastercard for its insights, global network, and technology.

Among these partners are banks, fintechs, and mobile network operators, but also digital marketplaces, food delivery services, and ride-hailing apps. They include premier partners and official suppliers of Expo 2020 Dubai. We roll out dedicated, tailor-made solutions that are tapping into the possibilities of the many innovative new payment experiences that are actively changing the way people pay in a digital age.

In the process, as we are co-creating, we’re also looking with new eyes and different perspectives at how we can solve some of the world’s most pressing problems related to financial inclusion and sustainability. Challenges that cannot be fixed alone.

Connecting minds

By the time Expo 2020 Dubai concludes, I’m convinced our horizons will be broader, our skies taller, and our connections deeper.

Partnerships are the key to a future that works for everyone. When we put our heads together, there are more minds that can develop ways to exponentially change the world for the better. It’s a wonderful thought, for a wonderful world.

Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard