The government of Panama and payments giant MasterCard has announced a new initiative to improve the country’s digital financial infrastructure.
The collaboration, described as the first of its kind in Latin America, covers a wide variety of areas, including digital payments, economic development, and financial inclusion, according to a press release from MasterCard. It will also include support for training and continuous education for citizens and small business owners.
The company is also working with the Panamanian Government Innovation Authority (AIG) on cybersecurity, as well as an “education strategy for the national cybersecurity plan.”
“Mastercard is committed to Panama because we understand the significant progress made in digital government through the implementation of initiatives for the simplification, standardization, and modernization of government processes,” said Germán Rosón, Mastercard Country Manager for Panama and El Salvador.
The program’s larger goal is to grow the economy and bring financial services to different parts of the country, recognizing that Panama is still a young country, in some ways. The government hopes to create a “digital ecosystem capable of addressing the latest technological challenges and improving public services for citizens,” La Prensa reports.
“Our contribution by promoting electronic payments helps strengthen the economy through the introduction of efficient and reliable financial inclusion solutions with tangible benefits,” Rosón said.
The initiative is interesting in the larger context of the competition for digital payments and the movement of money. MasterCard and Visa are locked in a battle with digital upstarts like PayPal and Square. At the same, cryptocurrency is playing an increasing role. As we noted in a recent article, cryptocurrencies are increasingly part of the conversation in Panama real estate.
The MasterCard deal will touch many parts of the country, including bringing financial payment services to people who may not have a bank account, the company said. The program will facilitate “digital acceleration in areas such as commerce, social benefit-sharing, transportation, tourism, and economic development for small and medium-sized companies, thus creating a future in which technology acts as an inclusive enabler of national progress,” said Michael Froman, Vice Chairman and President of Strategic Growth for Mastercard.