Mapping ICT infrastructure and financial inclusion in Mexico

Can you imagine what life would be like without a bank account? This is the daily reality of more than 1 billion ‘unbanked’ adults worldwide.

Access to transaction accounts clears a path to broader financial inclusion, meaning people and businesses can make financial transactions more efficiently and safely. That could look like accessing funds more easily, making payments more securely, building credit, accumulating savings, investing in the future, or coping with economic shocks.

No matter the financial goal, access to a transaction account is a crucial first step that enables participation in the digital economy, and is a critical building block for digital development.

Tracking this and other forms of financial inclusion just got easier in Mexico. Thanks to a new interactive map* built using open-source tools, it is now possible to visualize the gaps and pinpoint prominent barriers to financial connectivity across the country.

Built upon the ITU Broadband maps, the map interface contains a series of layers that can be used to analyze financial inclusion at the municipal and national scales. It also contains a variety of sources to show how connectivity to financial services varies across the country.

A step-by-step guide on how to use the ICT Infrastructure Map and Financial Inclusion for Mexico can be found here.

Mapping gaps and opportunities: Cross-sectoral collaboration on the ground

This interactive tool designed to support geospatial analysis of financial inclusion was developed in close collaboration with the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) in Mexico.

According to Juan Carlos Hernandez Wocker, General Coordinator of International Affairs at IFT, the Financial Inclusion Global Initiative (FIGI) enabled several Mexican authorities to work together to collect the information necessary for the map’s development, highlighting the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration.

“Thanks to cross-sectoral collaboration, it will be possible to continue working in favour of digital financial inclusion, and thus contribute to the well-being of the entire population, especially vulnerable groups, through the construction, consultation, interpretation and analysis of geo-referenced geographic and statistical information that will help the decision-making process regarding public policies and digital services,” said Mr. Hernandez Wocker.

In keeping with its Annual Work Program, the Federal Telecommunications Institute will continue working together with ITU in order to “encourage the development and efficient use of infrastructure in the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors,” he said.

One step closer to universal financial inclusion

Financial inclusion is a critical enabler for poverty reduction and inclusive growth.

Access to information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure is another critical step in achieving financial inclusion.

Universal financial inclusion is the main aspiration of the Financial Inclusion Global Initiative. Led by ITU, the World Bank Group and the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures, and with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FIGI is a three-year programme of collective action to advance research in digital finance and accelerate digital financial inclusion.

Part of ITU’s mandate as part of FIGI is the delivery of implementation solutions, including deep topical analyses and practical investigations, all working towards the goal of universal financial access by 2020.

In addition to Mexico, the initiative is currently funding national implementations in China and Egypt.

More financial inclusion solutions coming from ITU

Stay tuned for future developments from the ITU team working on digital financial inclusion, including a beta GIS application to implement the concept of a Financial Connectivity Index, and a cost estimation tool for network deployment.

The team is also working on geo-based financial inclusion indicators for coming developments, with the aim of supporting ICT infrastructure decisions and creating a bigger impact on the ground.

Solutions like the ICT Infrastructure Map and Financial Inclusion for Mexico are being developed by the Development Sector (ITU-D) in a way that can be easily used by other ITU Members to bring about reliable connectivity to all.

Image credit: Roman Lopez via Unsplash

*DISCLAIMER: The designations employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of ITU and the Secretariat of the ITU concerning the legal status of the country, territory, city or area or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

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