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Julia Bersch, Jean François Clevy, Naseem Muhammad, Mrs. Esther Perez Ruiz, and Mr. Yorbol Yakhshilikov
This paper analyzes the potential for fintech to facilitate cheaper and more efficient remittances, and to enhance financial inclusion in Central America. Digital remittances remain nascent in the region, primarily reflecting behavioral inertia, small cost advantages of digital over traditional channels, and inadequate financial literacy. Through expanded alliances between traditional and fintech operators, digital remittances can further reduce transaction costs and reach those remote, low-income households in a timely and secure manner. A meaningful expansion of fintech remittances necessitates an enabling regulatory environment for digital financial services, and KYC and AML/CFT requirements proportionate to the value of transfers.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

IMF Country Report No. 21/111

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Guatemala has managed to keep infections and deaths moderate during the pandemic. The economic impact of COVID-19 has been mild given an early reopening of the economy, unprecedented policy support, and resilient remittances and exports. However, despite large-scale government interventions to support households, poverty and malnutrition have deteriorated following COVID-19 and the two major hurricanes battering Guatemala last November.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

On behalf of our Guatemalan authorities, we would like to thank Mrs. Perez Ruiz and her team for their open and candid discussions during the mission, their proactive engagement, and the comprehensive and well-balanced report. Our authorities broadly share the staff’s assessment.