October 15, 2021. This post was originally published in TRIBUNE

The Special Technology Zones Authority (STZA) has signed three memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with international companies to attract foreign direct investment, promote technology transfer and ensure job creation in the newly established technology zones across Pakistan.

According to a statement issued on Thursday, first MoU for digital country partnership was signed with MasterCard Asia-Pacific Limited, a global technology company with market capitalisation of over $340 billion.

The MoU includes strengthening the digital framework in Pakistan, deploying smart city solutions, boosting artificial intelligence and cybersecurity capabilities, promoting agritech and setting up Pakistan’s first cash-free technology zone.

Second MoU was inked with UAE-based Galaxy Racer for cooperation in the development of gaming industry and esports through Special Technology Zones (STZs) in Pakistan.

Esports industry has a global footprint and has gradually grown in popularity over the years in the international market.

Third MoU was signed with UAE-based Shorooq Partners to support the building of Pakistan’s tech ecosystem, ensure presence on the ground to support local founders and investors through a series of ecosystem programmes and give portfolio companies in Pakistan a suite of valueadded services.

STZA Chairman Amer Hashmi, on the occasion, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to facilitating global venture capital firms in the technology zones. Senior executives of relevant companies including MasterCard, Galaxy Racer and Shorooq Partners inked the MoUs.

Pakistan President Dr Arif Alvi attended the signing ceremony, which was held in Dubai as part of the visit to Expo 2020.

STZA also hosted a session with international technology companies, investors and venture capitalists to brief them about the technology zones being established by the government of Pakistan to attract foreign investment and technology transfer as well as create jobs.

Led by Hashmi, a delegation of STZA had several strategic engagements with high-profile tech investors, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

The team included CIO Abdul Rahim, Director Planning Hamza Saeed Orakzai and Director Marketing Hina Nasir STZA had been established by the government of Pakistan with the mandate to provide world-class digital and physical infrastructure through the creation of STZs to position Pakistan on the global radar.