International payments company Mastercard announced on May 16 the opening of its representative office in Uzbekistan.
Dimi Dosis, president of Mastercard EEMEA, told a press conference in Samarkand that the world’s largest payment-processing company is doubling down on Uzbekistan after being present in the country for 20 years.
“We have been operating in Uzbekistan for more than 20 years. We are now doubling down, opening a physical office in Tashkent,” he told journalists at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) annual meeting in Samarkand.
“We are hiring people in our office, looking for local talent. We are a firm believer that Uzbekistan can be a hub for operations across Central Asia. It’s a big and important market for us.”
Uzbekistan is Central Asia’s most populous economy. Long overshadowed by oil-rich Kazakhstan, the reforms of recent years have increased its attractiveness among international investors.
Meanwhile, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the EBRD, a global partner. The purpose of this agreement is to explore potential collaborations in Central Asia, particularly in empowering small business owners, especially women, through digital means.
By focusing on the digital empowerment of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the MoU aims to create opportunities for economic growth and inclusion, Mastercard said.
Last year, Mastercard entered into a Digital Country Partnership (DCP) agreement with the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan and signed another MoU with the Ministry of Digital Technologies. These agreements addressed various areas of digitisation, including SMEs, fintech, cybersecurity, tourism, smart cities, financial literacy and financial inclusion.
As well as the opening of the new office, Dosis also said that Mastercard is stepping up its work with local fintechs.
As part of the DCP, Mastercard invested in a payment ecosystem design and development project with the central bank in 2023 through its subsidiary, Mastercard Advisors. The objective of this project is to further accelerate the adoption of digital payments in Uzbekistan.
According to Dosis, Samarkand will be added to the Mastercard Priceless Cities programme offered to its cardholders, which will help raise awareness among potential visitors. “We were truly impressed by the beauty of the city of Samarkand, which believe needs more attention from global companies like us,” he said.