Gabriela Zapata Alvarez

Gabriela Zapata is a strategic advisor to various private and public institutions and fintech startups involved in financial inclusion in Latin America, with special emphasis on Mexico.  She is also actively involved on a number of projects focusing on applied product innovation, user-centered design, behavioral sciences, product cross-sell, access channels, financial capabilities and others with MetLife Foundation, Bankable Frontier Associates, CGAP and the Center for Financial Inclusion.

Previously, she was Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Director of Promotion of Financial Organizations at the Ministry of Agriculture in Mexico.  She holds a master’s degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University and lives in Mexico City.

By Gabriela Zapata Alvarez


Mobile Payments Take Shape in Latin America & the Caribbean

Mobile payments took hold over a decade ago, but Latin America didn't experience the traction seen elsewhere. Since then, two emerging business models for digital payments in Colombia and Haiti achieved particular success. What did they get right?

How a Retail Chain Became Mexico’s No. 1 Bank Account Supplier

Saldazo, a Visa debit card product co-branded with Banamex bank, has made Mexico’s largest corner store retail chain – OXXO – the country’s number one transactional account supplier. Here are some key success factors, challenges and insights from this project.

Preventing the Digital Trail from Going Cold: Lessons from Mexico

In recent years, digitizing and delivering Government to Person social payments into individual recipients’ bank accounts has been considered a potential gateway to financially include significant numbers of poor people. A five-year project in Mexico is analyzed to help answer key questions.

Product Development Doesn’t End with Design

Product development does not and should end with a designed product. The role of creative thinking to circumvent challenges and identify the right opportunities cannot be underestimated if a product is to be successfully designed, launched and most importantly, used by those for which it was intended.

Why Don’t Low-Income Mexicans Use Formal Savings Products?

To understand why this is the case and to determine if there are ways in which low income Mexicans can be attracted to formal savings and other financial products, CGAP partnered with design firm and one of the largest banks in Mexico Bancomer over the last three months. The purpose was to incubate possible financial products that are financially sustainable for Bancomer but could reach scale and attract the low income Mexican market.