Mastercard and the Government of Catalonia join forces to promote cutting-edge digital technologies across the regionJanuary 28, 2022 | By Ana Díaz Sacristan
Today a collaboration agreement has been signed with the Vice-Presidency of the Government of Catalonia to develop innovative projects in line with the Government's digital strategy and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The projects to be carried out will focus on the areas of agri-food, cybersecurity for SMEs and tourism, and will be based on blockchain and data analysis.
Barcelona, 27 January, 2022.- Mastercard today signed a collaboration agreement with the Government of Catalonia that aims to support the innovative ecosystem in Catalonia and promote the use of advanced digital technologies to boost the region's economic and social progress. The agreement was signed by the Vice President and Minister for Digital Policies and Territory, Jordi Puigneró, and Solveig Honoré Hatton, Senior VP, Government Engagement, Mastercard.
The rapid adoption of new technologies and support for innovation in Catalonia were key inspirations behind the agreement – which represents a prime example of public-private collaborations enabling the acceleration of digitalisation – and have already led to the roll out of a series of projects enhancing the region’s capabilities in the digital economy.
"At Mastercard, we strongly believe that public-private partnerships are essential in driving innovation and helping communities and local economies to thrive," said Solveig Honoré Hatton, Senior VP, Government Engagement,Mastercard. "We are delighted to be working with the Government of Catalonia to provide them with access to our network, technology, and our portfolio of secure, effective solutions. There is no doubt that these projects will help us to build a smarter, sustainable and inclusive future."
“At a time when the digital economy is becoming increasingly important, Mastercard’s support of Catalonia is helping bolster the government’s strategy to make the region a leading authority in this area,” added vice president Puigneró. “Through cutting-edge technologies – such as blockchain and big data – this partnership will help us accelerate the digitalisation of some of Catalonia’s key sectors such as agri-food, tourism, and cybersecurity.”
The collaborative partnership, effective from today, will help drive forward a range of projects in line with the Catalonian government’s digital strategy, the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the European Digital Agenda.
Preliminary initiatives in three key sectors
Building on the work carried out by Mastercard and the Digital Policies ministry to identify which areas would benefit most from innovation, both parties agreed to initially focus on transformative projects in three key sectors: agri-food, cybersecurity and tourism. Future projects will expand the initial proposal and integrate other sectors into the strategy.
Initiatives will initially launch across three sectors:
- Agriculture: a pilot project focusing on the digitalisation of the agri-food value chain via blockchain.
- Cybersecurity: a series of programmes designed to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Catalonia through the provision of digital resources, tools and services that allow for real-time evaluation of cybersecurity measures.
- Tourism: a project focusing on the processing and use of data in the sector’s recovery and growth strategies
Blockchain technology in agriculture
The agreement signed today approves an initial trial of Mastercard’s European Provenance supply chain solution within Catalonian agriculture. The company has already successfully tested the product in other markets including Australia, Central America, Mexico and the US.
Created using blockchain technology, the solution will allow both parties to improve food product traceability through quality control and fraud detection with the aim of enhancing the competitiveness of small producers.
The project will be launched immediately in collaboration with the Catalan ministry for Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda and the region’s Blockchain Centre (CBCat), with the first pilot rolling out in January 2022.
Cybersecurity for SMEs
Mastercard will work with the Government of Catalonia on a support package designed for small and medium enterprises. It will offer SMEs in Catalonia a series of digital resources, tools and services that they can use to assess their own risk level in real time and evaluate that of their cybersecurity providers. This in turn will allow the government to design and implement the appropriate support measures.
The partnership will also seek to promote digital cybersecurity training among young people, with a particular focus on girls. The aim is to encourage them to develop an interest in and acquire the skills necessary to pursue a career in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) sectors. As part of this initiative, Mastercard will roll out its Girls4Tech (G4T) programme across schools in Catalonia.
The curriculum has already been taught to more than one million girls worldwide with the aim to reach more than five million by 2025.
Big data analysis in the tourism sector
In partnership with the Catalan Tourist Board, Mastercard will work on the development and implementation of tourism recovery strategies through the use of data and other digital marketing tools.
The aim is to promote Catalonia’s selection of tourist destinations and redirect the flow of tourists to help make the industry more inclusive and sustainable. The goal of this initiative is for Catalonia to emerge as a trailblazer for innovation and digitalisation in this sector.