The notion that T&T can’t catch up with the rest of the world in terms of technology was yesterday refuted by AmCham TT CEO Nirad Tewarie who said this nation has the potential to leapfrog other countries.
“Technological leapgrogging is happening all around,” he said in an address at the launch of WiPay, a new cashless payment system at Digicel Imax Cinema, One Woodbrook place.
Tewarie pointed out that for every ten per cent increase in mobile phone penetration in poor countries, CDP growth per person speed up in 0.8-1.2 percentage points a year.
“However, to facilitate technological leapfrogging, we need to transform ourselves from a society that asks ‘why’ to a society that asks ‘why not?’” he said.
He added that there was need for a fundamental shift in thinking, which would change the way we do business, so that T&T becomes a “why not” society
Tewarie wondered why the country could not commit to entreprenurial ideas, use technology for greater social inclusion and social justice and promote critical thinking in schools.
He said: “Such a mindset must be supported by co-ordinated policy measures that enable the ‘why not’ entrepreneurs to access what they need to effect change. This is not to say there should be no regulation, but regulations should only exist if there is a material public safety concern.
“Otherwise, we should be enabled to take risks and innovate. This is, after all, the best environment for creation.”
Tewarie appealed to citizens to “work towards being a people and a country open to the expanse of possibility: in technology and in life. Let us make ourselves a country of why not.”
The WiPay system allows payments to be made to anyone at anytime and anywhere.
CEO Aldwyn Wayne explained: “What we’re launching is a personal application as well as our business hardware payment.
“The WiPay app allows individuals and businesses—even small businesses—to make payments to each other at anytime. I can take out my phone and pay someone for landscaping or babysitting without even seeing them and that money will go straight into their account.”
The app allows users to load, pay, transfer and deposit funds with all the existing electronic devices of payment and caters to 80 per cent of the diaspora that may not have a credit or debit card. The system also provides the option of going to a lotto booth to purchase a WiPay credit voucher, scan it with the app downloaded on a phone so that money can go directly to the person’s bank account.
Wayne said such initiatives are especially important at a time when more and more people are carrying around less cash.
He said the WiPay platform takes into consideration the lack of credit card penetration in T&T and the region.
Wipay Financial is based in Port-of-Spain and provides a range of online/offline and electronic financial products and services.