For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States and the Philippines announced a new partnership that will provide Filipinos easier access to financial services through the use of mobile phones.
President Benigno Aquino III and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah agreed to implement the Scaling Innovations in Mobile Money (SIMM) initiative in the Philippines.
"The SIMM project aims to empower Filipinos by providing easier and more efficient access to banking and payment services through mobile phones," Administrator Shah said. "It builds upon USAID/Philippines’ current work in microfinance and mobile banking to expand opportunity and financial services through new technologies.”
Only 26 percent of Filipinos have access to formal financial channels. Out of the 1,635 municipalities in the country, 37 percent or 610 municipalities do not have access to banks. The SIMM project will take advantage of the high penetration rate of mobile phone subscribers to close the gap and extend financial services to Filipinos from any place in the country.
The initiative will enable more Filipinos to enjoy access to financial services in a more affordable and efficient manner by expanding mobile money services. Key areas include the payment system, government services, and electronic payroll distribution.
USAID Philippines Mission Director Gloria Steele said, “The success of this project will rely heavily on the participation of the private sector. We will engage with financial institutions, mobile network operators, small and medium enterprises, learning institutions, non-government organizations and the general business community to work with us in this effort.”
These objectives follow the Government of the Philippines and the United States Government’s focus on breaking down barriers to growth, a priority under the Partnership for Growth signed last year by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.
The United States is committed to making financial services accessible to lower income families in the Philippines. Since 1997, USAID has implemented programs that have enabled microentrepreneurs, small farmers and households access to loans, deposits, microinsurance, remittances, and mobile phone banking services.
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Last updated: February 10, 2014