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Burj Al Arab setting for largest ever Middle East/North Africa meeting

Forecasts indicate consumer spending on the Internet will grow to almost a half trillion dollars in the next five years with over 90 per cent of virtual spending on cards


Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 29 April 2001 - Top Arab bankers will assemble in Dubai on the 2nd and 3rd of May, at the beginning of next month for an international forum meeting that will focus on Maximising Opportunities through Technology’ in the Middle East and North Africa region. the ever-increasing impact of e-business in the ME/A region. The MasterCard International’s two-day conference annual meeting 2001 is designed to further equip MasterCard Internationalits member banks with new knowledge and tools to meet the marketing and technology challenges facing the e-commercepayment solutions industry.


This is the first MasterCard ME/A Annual Meeting of the millennium and follows on from one of the most successful meetings ever - also held in Dubai, in 1999. The number of bankers participating, many of them CEOs and Chairmen, is expected to be more than three hundred, surpassing the record number of attendees from 11 countries across the region eighteen months agoat the last Annual meeting.


“The presence of such a senior group of bankers and financiers at our meeting is evidence of the industry's support for MasterCard's strategic direction,” said Mohamed Belarj, Senior Vice President and General Manager, MasterCard International, MENA Region. “This support is coupled with our members desire to learn more on competitive e-commerce strategies and acquisition tactics to ‘win’ in the business-to-business and business to consumer markets.”


The meeting features presentations by the senior members of MasterCard's global eteam, including Art Kranzley, Senior Vice President e-business group, who tackles the person to person value exchange, while Pascal Dufour, Senior Manager New Products Introduction, Europay International examines Chip developments and Randall Wheeler looks at payment solutions for the Youth market. The strategic importance MasterCard attaches to alliances is reflected in presentations by the regional heads of Oracle, IBM and Microsoft who will address the delegates on e-business developments and solutions within their respective companies.t.


Joining Belarj for the presentations are a number of other senior MasterCard executives including Alan Heuer, Senior Executive Vice President, Customer Group; Don Van Stone Executive Vice President and General Manager, Europe, Middle East/Africa  (EMEA), Art Kranzley, Senior Vice President e-business group; Alison Greensmith, Head of Business Development, Mondex International – EMEA; Pascal Dufour, Senior Manager New Products Introduction, Europay International, Kamal Boushi, Vice President, Global Consulting Services EMEA, Ralph Bianco, Senior Vice President, Global Payments Solutions and Steve Abrams, Senior Vice President, Corporate Payment Solutions.

MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. More than 1.7 billion MasterCardâ, Cirrusâ and Maestroâ logos are present on credit, charge and debit cards in circulation today. An association comprised of more than 20,000 member financial institutions, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses, both large and small, in 210 countries and territories.  MasterCard is the leader in quality and innovation, offering a wide range of payment solutions in the virtual and traditional worlds.  MasterCard’s award-winning Priceless advertising campaign is now seen in 81 countries and in more than 36 languages, giving the MasterCard brand reach and scope unrivalled by any competitor in the industry. With more than 21 million acceptance locations, no card is accepted in more places and by more merchants than the MasterCard Card.  In 2000, gross dollar volume exceeded US$857 billion.  MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at


Press contact:      

David Baker, Gulf Hill & Knowlton - Dubai Tel: +971 4 3344930 Email:





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