A new financial transactions law, Ley de Dinero Electrónico, signed this week by President Ollanta Humala will make it easier for Peruvians to conduct financial transactions using their mobile phones. The law, which goes into effect this July, will help the estimated 65 percent of poor Peruvians who lack access to formal banking services or ATMs.
More than 32 million mobile phone users will be able to securely pay invoices, transfer money, purchase goods and deposit money to their phone from their checking and savings account, greatly increasing both their financial and social inclusion. The electronic funds will be offered by banks, savings and loans institutions, and new companies that specialize in mobile transactions, such as the Empresas Emisoras de Dinero Electrónico (EEDE).
Currently, only 28 percent of the adult population use formal bank accounts. The new law has the potential to reach 95 percent of the districts in Peru that have mobile coverage.
Humala also announced that this new strategy allows the Pensión 65 recipients (government stipend program for the marginalized, elderly population) receive their monthly stipend of 125 soles ($49) through mobile transactions.
According to Scotiabank’s innovation channels manager in Lima, Miguel Arce, “Approximately $15 billion moves in the retail business per year. About 6 percent of these transactions are done through banks, which means that $10 billion moves in cash through grocery stores, hardware stores and others, all of which use cell phones.”
Cisco Systems, Inc., a computer networking firm with over 70,000 employees worldwide, is committed to not only selling its products to Latin American and Caribbean countries but also encouraging community development and promoting social inclusion within those markets. Accordingly, Cisco has partnered with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and public-sector institutions to maximize the impact of its technological expertise on local populations—which is a model that other corporations should consider.
Cisco's flagship corporate social responsibility (CSR) tool is its Cisco Networking Academy (CNA) initiative. Started in 1997, CNA delivers practical, hands-on training in information and communications technology (ICT) in the areas of designing, building, troubleshooting, and securing computer networks. The goal of CNA is for students to further their education, prepare for careers in ICT or even start their own businesses.
CNA is a public-private partnership; Cisco teams up with universities, NGOs and government agencies to develop the ICT courses and—leveraging those partnerships—maximize access for those in the lowest socioeconomic percentiles. There are over 10,000 CNAs across 165 countries; in Latin America its reach spans 22 countries via 1,200 partner organizations since the program's inception. 600,000 citizens of Latin America—including 174,000 this year alone—have enrolled in CNA courses . Worldwide, Cisco has trained 3.75 million people to date, 900,000 of them just in 2011, with women comprising nearly one-fourth of trainees.
June 1: This AQ-Efecto Naím segment looks at sustainable cities in the hemisphere.