MidEast firms must innovate to survive, says Mastercard exec

Consumers view technology as a necessity not luxury so companies must have mobile payment options
MidEast firms must innovate to survive, says Mastercard exec
By Rasha Owais
Thu 13 Apr 2017 09:51 AM

Businesses in the MENA region should focus on innovation to survive in a world that is now primarily governed by a huge number of consumers who view technology as a necessity not luxury, according to a senior Mastercard executive.

Khalid Elgibaly, Division President for Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Mastercard, said: “You must innovate to survive. Globally, any authority that will not take technology seriously in the coming 20 to 30 years, will be affected negatively. It is not a choice.

"It is a matter of survival because technology has become a necessity for the majority of consumers. Traders who do not have mobile payment options will lose in the future. Consumers will look for others who have those options,” he stressed.

Elgibaly also pointed out the widespread use of mobile phones in the GCC and North Africa with penetration levels of 100 to 120 percent.

"This shows that everyone including children have mobiles. This also has facilitated the entry of individuals into the digital platform and make payments easily and safely through their machines,” he said.

In his view, the monetary cost in any market is estimated at 1.5 percent of GDP and this percentage makes a huge difference in an economy that wants to create jobs and invest in infrastructure. “Mastercard helps governments and countries reduce monetary cost so that it can use that money in investing into infrastructure,” he stressed.

Elgibaly also believes the UAE is one of the most digitally ready countries around the world, as proven by SAP and Accenture studies, which indicate that digital transformation in the UAE would add $14 million to the GDP by the year 2020.

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