Visa’s efforts to shed cash payments in Dubai and surrounding regions includes getting an early jump on new innovation, and it hopes a new development hub will serve as a focal point for local developers.

The 4,000 square foot innovation center will serve the Central and Eastern European, Middle East and Africa markets. It’s part of a broader network of global innovation centers set to open over through 2017.

It recently launched one in Singapore to serve the Asian markets as well as its flagship location in San Francisco. Visa has been expanding its focus on payments technology developers recently, including a developer platform that provides access to payment services such as account holder identification, person to person payments, Visa Checkout, currency conversion and transaction alerts.

The Dubai  center will allow the card network to foster innovation through partner and client experience, engagement and collaboration, and as a response to the shift in demand from plastic to digital payment options.

Specifically, it wants to encourage cashless economies by securing every Internet-connected device, appliance and wearable for digital commerce capability.

“Visa will work alongside clients and partners to imagine and build creative, cutting-edge digital commerce and payment experiences,” Kamran Siddiqi, Visa’s CEMEA group executive, said in a May 24 press release.

As part of the Dubai launch, Visa also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with software company Tecom Group, in which the two agreed to foster the startup community by providing mentorship and guidance, supporting local hackathons and developer workshops, collaborating on pilots, tests and trials inside the Tecom and leveraging each others’ networks to advance innovation projects.

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