Tigo Money and Acceso Oferta Local present a financial inclusion success story with the women of Chalatenango


San Salvador—February 6, 20018—Tigo El Salvador and Acceso Oferta Local (Acceso), a social business built by the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), are promoting financial inclusion for sixty Acceso collection center employees by paying employee wages through Tigo Money. Acceso provides technical assistance to smallholder producers to improve their production and creates jobs for the community through its collection centers.

Eighty three percent of collection center employees are women, the majority of whom are single moms and heads of household; in some cases, they are older than 50 and have little or no previous work experience. Working in the remote mountains of Chalatenango, these women did not have access to financial services that met their needs. Collecting their wages meant losing one day of work traveling to the nearest bank, spending money on transportation, paying for commissions and risking their lives carrying cash.

As of July 2017, Acceso collection center employees began getting paid their wages through Tigo Money “electronic wallets” and take advantage of Tigo Money’s innovative services such as bill pay, money transfers, withdrawals, and collection of remittances. Every 15 days, collection center employees receive a text message that notifies them about their paycheck, which can be collected at any time in any of the 130 Tigo Money points of sale found throughout Chalatenango or in the 2,400 Tigo Money points of sale found throughout the country.

Tigo estimates that more than $180,000 of wages to Acceso collection center employees will be paid by Tigo Money by July 2018. In the future, Tigo and Acceso plan to extend payment via mobile money to 1,200 smallholder farmers and 250 artisanal fishers and fish farmers.

Andrés Baiza, general manager of Acceso, recognizes the complexities of paying collection center employees and understands the hardships they face in collecting their wages.

“When we started the project, wages were paid through the banking system. Even though deposits were made in individual accounts, employees had to travel two or three hours to withdraw their money, were charged a commission, and lost a whole day. This was even more complicated when pay day was a weekday. Now, our employees are not worried about what time they need to leave work to collect their money because they can go to any Tigo Money point of sale and immediately collect their payment,” commented Baiza.

“Tigo is transforming the life of Salvadorians through technology. We are witnessing how technology closes gaps, provides opportunities, and makes life easier. In this case, we are supporting people who have been historically left out of the financial system, facilitating their access to an electronic wallet that they can manage from their cellphone,” affirmed Marcelo Alemán, CEO of Tigo El Salvador.

“This project is in line with our mission to support digital and financial inclusion for Salvadorian women. We have several corporate responsibility projects centered around technology training and use of the electronic wallet. Supporting digital and financial inclusion for women is essential because when women prosper, societies and economies prosper,” added Alemán.

“When I was paid on a weekday, I had to wait until Saturday to collect my paycheck. I had to pay for a car to go to the bank and when I couldn’t go, I had to pay someone else to take my card and collect my paycheck for me. Sometimes we would wait until the next payday to collect our pay. And sometimes it was not possible because the system was not working,” commented Ruth Abigail Cartagena, Acceso collection center employee.

“We are proud to be the technology alternative for the majority of Salvadorians who are not in the banking system. Tigo Money has been with Acceso from the beginning and we will continue working together to promote financial inclusion in the country,” said Daniel Barrientos, VP Digital, Tigo Money.

In El Salvador, only one third of adults have bank accounts and the rest manage their money in cash. This means risks, time loss, and not being included in the financial system. Tigo Money was born in 2011 as a pioneering tool for financial inclusion, which now has more than one million users in the country.

Tigo Money promotes financial inclusion and has transformed peoples’ lives through its different services including payroll, payment of receipts, school fees, money transfers, purchase of navigation packages, and remittances. With one transaction per second, more than USD $500M was traded through Tigo Money in 2017. One of the advantages of Tigo Money is its national footprint, with more than 2,400 points of sale in more than 90% of the municipalities of the country. Currently, more than 450 companies are working with Tigo Money to pay employee wages or conduct commercial transactions.

About Tigo El Salvador

Tigo is the commercial brand of the Swedish company, Millicom, which has been in the country since 1992 when it invested in Telemóvil, El Salvador. The company is first in the country in terms of mobile technology services and offers digital services such as cable television, high-speed internet, mobile voice communications, and mobile financial services to more than 45% of the population.

Tigo announced an investment of more than one billion dollars from 2017 to 2020, for the development and expansion of its infrastructure and operations. Between 2011 and 2017, Tigo has destined more than USD $1.4M for corporate social responsibility projects related to information technology, having connected more than 350 public schools as of 2017. The World Economic Forum and Forbes Central America magazine recognized Tigo as one of the 30 companies that stand out in the Central America region for its innovative corporate social responsibility program.

About Acceso Oferta Local (Acceso)

Acceso Oferta Local is a social business built by the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, that works with smallholder producers. Acceso improves the yield and quality of their products, aggregates products in an efficient manner, and offers logistics solutions. Producers benefit from technical assistance, financing, fair prices, and sustainable access to high-value markets that improve their quality of life. Buyers such as Super Selectos benefit from competitive prices, high-quality products and the opportunity to increase their local sourcing, boosting the local economy. Acceso has worked with more than 800 producers to date.

Original article in Spanish