By any stretch, President Barack Obama’s trip to Cuba is a historic event.
After all, he is the first United States president to visit the tiny nation, so long a U.S. adversary, in roughly 90 years. Obama has reopened the U.S. embassy there and has also paved the path for commercial airline flights to begin to that nation. Mail will go back and forth between the two countries.
And, with the scaling back of some restrictions that have been in place — tying up exports, financial relationships (banking) and remittances, not to mention travel — it would make sense that Obama’s entourage would include a dozen CEOs. Of that roster, some notables include Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox; Brian Chesky, CEO and founder of Airbnb; executives from Marriott and Starwood; Julie Hanna, executive chair of the board of Kiva; and Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal.
In a blog post commenting on the trip posted through PayPal’s site on Sunday (March 20), Schulman pointed to the easing of financial restrictions to help pave the way for growth of SMBs in Cuba, and global payments platforms, he said, can open up international markets.
The remittance flows can be advantageous to several countries, wrote Schulman, who noted that $2 billion is sent from the United States to Cuba on an annual basis. That amounts to 3 percent of Cuba’s gross domestic product. Schulman noted in his post that platforms such as Xoom can help improve the process, alongside low fees. Schulman also said that he expects the Xoom service to make its debut in Cuba by the end of this year. One key advantage of money transfer services using platforms such as Xoom is that long wait times can be gradually cast aside.