Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru will begin removing international roaming rates in voice and data communications as part of an initiative to boost integration and modernization between the Community of Andean Nations (CAN), the block’s secretary said Wednesday.
The announcement came at the 50th-anniversary celebration of the organization, which promotes social and economic cooperation between member countries.
The result of the process will be that by 2022 there will be no costs for international calls between the four countries, CAN secretary Jorge Hernando Pedraza told journalists in Cartagena, a city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.
“It will benefit 111 million Andean citizens who will feel the gains directly in their pockets,” he said.
Colombian President Ivan Duque called on the CAN to speed up its process of modernization so it can partner with other trade groups such as the Pacific Alliance and Mercosur.
In July last year, Mercosur members Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay agreed to end international roaming rates between the economic bock.
Duque called on CAN members to be more active in managing the migration of thousands of Venezuelans who have fled the economic, political and social crisis of their home country, and to seek financial assistance from the international community to help respond to the calamity.
Duque said he and the group’s foreign ministers had invited Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guiado to bring Venezuela back into the fold. Deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez withdrew from the CAN in 2011.
Colombia is part of a group of countries that recognizes Guiado as the legitimate leader of Venezuela.