Financial, Digital Inclusion Become a MustBy Sofía Hanna | Tue, 08/31/2021 - 16:10
The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) accelerated during the pandemic, especially the use of cell phones and internet. Now, three out of every four Mexicans has access to a cell phone and many more to the internet. However, there is still a long way to go before Mexico can fully achieve digitization.
During 2020, “75.5 percent of the population aged six years or more in Mexico was a cell phone user, which represented an increase of 4 percentage points over 2015,” reads the National Survey on the Availability and Use of Information Technologies in Homes (ENDUTIH), cited in a BBVA report. “Regarding internet access, in the same year, there were 84.1 million internet users in the same age range, which represent 72 percent of that population, that is an increase of more than 14 percentage points compared to 2015.”
The use of ICTs accelerated thanks to the numerous advantages they represent in terms of time and cost reduction. They also provide opportunities for growth and economic development and are great incentives to promote that no one is left behind. However, there is still a real challenge in reducing the regional gaps between Mexico’s rural and urban areas. In 2020, only 50.4 percent of the population in rural areas were internet users, while in urban areas the percentage was 78.3 percent.
Financial and technological inclusion in Mexico still represents one of the biggest infrastructure challenges in the country. “The following years will be decisive in determining whether the country managed to digitally and financially include most of the population in Mexico, especially those outside urban areas,” according to the BBVA report. Financial services are among the instruments that help people improve their odds of living better lives as they allow people to better manage their money. Also, financial services broaden their capacity to acquire more investment options, which are useful to improve development and well-being, mentions Gustavo Rojo, CEO of Vexi and an MBN Startup Contributor.
Juan Luis Bordes, General Manager of PayPal Mexico, told MBN that a challenge in the development of digital financial products is maintaining engagement with Mexico’s merchants and users. While there is a strong interest in increasing banking inclusion, there is much to be done by financial institutions, governments, the private sector and other players to achieve this goal, says Bordes.