GSMA and IDB drive mobile financial services in Latin America

The GSMA, the global body for the mobile industry, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have joined forces to accelerate the deployment in Latin America and the Caribbean of mobile financial services designed to meet the needs of the unbanked and the poor.

The IDB, the world’s largest regional development institution, funds economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The joint initiative will provide financial and technical support to mobile phone operators and partner banks for the implementation of up to five mobile financial services systems in different countries throughout the region.

To date, there has been little development and implementation of mobile financial services for the unbanked and poor in Latin America and the Caribbean, where more than 65% of the adult population do not have bank accounts. Mobile financial services in other parts of the world have proven to be a transformational technology, providing lower cost, better quality and more secure financial services to large numbers of the poor and unbanked.

Michael O’Hara, chief marketing officer at the GSMA, commented: “Working with the IDB will enhance our efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean to enable the many people in the region, who currently do not have banks accounts, to be able to use their mobile phones to access a full range of financial services, including fast, simple and cost-effective mobile money transfer services. We expect that increased access to low-cost and secure financial services in developing countries will help improve the standard of living for many millions of people, by increasing economic opportunities and by lowering the cost of many activities.”