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Dubai Government forms ‘Cashless Dubai Working Group’

24 Nov, 2020

The Government of Dubai has formed the ‘Cashless Dubai Working Group’ to create an action plan to shift all payment transactions in Dubai to secure and easy-to-use cashless platforms across sectors.

The initiative brings together Smart Dubai, Dubai’s Department of Finance (DOF), the Supreme Legislation Committee, Dubai Economy, Dubai Police, Dubai Economic Security Centre, Dubai Chamber, and Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing to drive a secure and seamless transition towards a cashless society in the emirate. 

The Working Group will be entrusted with a set of key objectives including the development of a roadmap for the transition towards a cashless society. The Group will launch a series of ambitious initiatives targeting all segments of the community to create the infrastructure and favourable conditions for eliminating the use of cash. 

At its inaugural meeting, the Working Group launched the ‘Dubai Cashless Framework Report’, developed by Smart Dubai and the Dubai Department of Finance. The Report seeks to promote the use of smart payment platforms for all transactions to phase out the use of physical cash. The ‘Dubai Cashless Framework Report’ forms part of the Working Group’s efforts to support the emirate’s full digital transition and make Dubai the world’s smartest and happiest city, in line with the directives of the UAE’s leadership and the objectives of the UAE Centennial 2071 plan.

His Excellency Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh, Director General of Dubai's DOF, affirmed the government's keenness to promote the happiness and well-being of the residents and visitors of the emirate, based on the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

"Setting and activating a cashless payment framework will advance various aspects of economic activity in the Dubai, stimulate thoughtful spending, raise revenue and enhance cost effectiveness, whether at the government or private sector level, in addition to enabling individuals to achieve financial savings in many aspects of life," HE Al Saleh said.

"This initiative, the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region, reinforces Dubai’s leadership in the regional financial sector," he said. "DOF plays a vital role in this planned strategic shift to a cashless Dubai by allocating the necessary budget for the project, providing consultations in financial affairs and coordinating with relevant financial authorities."

His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of Dubai Economy, commented: “The Government of Dubai is keen to accelerate the growth of the cashless economy as directed by the leadership and improve financial inclusion to enhance digital payments in the emirate, as it is one of the key pillars in Dubai’s smart transformation. Aligned with the leadership's long-term vision, the ‘Cashless Dubai Working Group’ initiative is critical to enhancing the efforts of various entities in the emirate to create a smart and safe economic environment.”

Al Qamzi added: “At Dubai Economy, we are committed to strengthen our strategic role as one of the main engines of the cashless economy, and we will work with our various partners to achieve the objectives of the ‘Cashless Dubai Working Group’ in line with the global shift towards digital payments. Our country ranks first globally in the  Digital Connectivity Index of Euromonitor International, which places Dubai and the UAE in a good position to become one of the world’s leading cashless societies.”

His Excellency Younus Al Nasser, Assistant Director General of Smart Dubai, and CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment said: “Going cashless represents the future of transactions and is the way that business and commerce are increasingly being conducted in the 21st century. The Cashless Framework Report is a landmark step in the journey towards becoming cashless. The Framework will act as a guide to the citywide adoption of smart payment methods that will ultimately make physical currency a part of history.”

“Embracing such advanced breakthroughs is a key part of our mandate at Smart Dubai as we strive to achieve our mission to ensure people’s wellbeing, develop the emirate’s smart infrastructure and ultimately harness technology to transform Dubai into the world’s happiest and smartest city,” His Excellency added. 

“The Cashless Framework Report benchmarks four countries that have successfully led a full transition towards a cashless society. The Smart Dubai team working on the report used references from international studies to identify the benefits of transitioning towards a cashless society,” Al Nasser explained.

The report, which sheds light on enabling factors such as governance, technology and culture, thoroughly assesses the immense benefits of such a transition for governments, businesses and individuals. 

The Cashless Framework Report outlines the governance ecosystem, policy levers, regulatory and industry initiatives, and technology and cultural drivers that are critical to driving the transition towards a cashless society and ensuring a seamless experience for both businesses and consumers. 

The new report says that going cashless brings about an array of advantages, ranging from economic benefits to greater health and safety standards for citizens and residents. From a health perspective, the minimal physical contact involved in smart transactions is a particular consideration in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To design the framework and develop the report, Smart Dubai reviewed global policy and regulatory references from all around the world, piecing together the most suitable governance structure necessary for the transition in the emirate. The team analysed and identified the key regulatory initiatives that will seamlessly drive this transition, while facilitating competition, innovation, resilience and consumer protection.

Smart Dubai has mapped out the cashless payment experiences expected in the future and the technology needed to enable those experiences. Furthermore, the team has analysed both global and domestic cultural drivers and identified areas where Dubai embodies such drivers.

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