INTERVIEW: Santiago Pena, President of the Republic of Paraguay (pictured), opened up on efforts to advance the country’s digital sector, highlighting a major push around technology development since taking office in August 2023.

In an interview with Mobile World Live at MWC Barcelona 2024, Pena positioned digitalisation as integral to Paraguay’s development and recovery from past territorial conflicts, outlining bullish goals around the sector.

Plans include ramping up educational initiatives through exchange programmes. Paraguay is also part of the EllaLink submarine cable linking Europe, South America and Asia, which strategically puts the country as “the centre of integration” between the continents, said Pena.

The President also pointed to the nation’s production of renewable electricity, being a top exporter of sustainable energy. This puts Paraguay in a position of advantage at a time when power consumption continues to increase. For example, 80 per cent of power consumed in Paraguay comes from hydro plants, he added.

As for mobile developments, Pena noted there is a “strong penetration” of smartphones, pointing out Paraguay has the youngest population in Latin America.

Crediting Africa’s achievements in mobile money landscape, Pena noted he has “pushed for a legislation to authorise telecoms to provide financial services”, making Paraguay the only country outside Africa with more mobile banking accounts than traditional bank accounts.

“This is a testimony of how Paraguay has been able to incorporate the use of technology in day-to-day needs for the population,” he said, adding mobile services are key to connect more isolated parts of the nation.

To watch the full interview, click here.