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Latin America needs heavy investments to close the digital divide

Miami, Jun 23 (.) .- The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) affirmed this Wednesday at a forum in Miami (Florida, USA) that Latin America and the Caribbean require investments of 68,000 million dollars to close their gap connectivity and thus be able to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital economy. A study on the development of broadband in 26 Latin American and Caribbean countries presented today at the Miami-LAC 2021 forum indicates that the region’s connectivity gap compared to the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD ) is a significant drag. If it were closed, for which the 26 countries have the support of the IDB, it could create more than 15 million jobs in the region, boost economic growth of 7.7% and increase productivity by 6.3%. underlines the study. A HISTORICAL OPPORTUNITY “The IDB is taking measures to promote a digital ecosystem that helps the region to make these investments, to design national broadband plans and to create the public-private partnerships necessary to expand coverage for all citizens, especially for the most vulnerable “, stressed the bank’s president, Mauricio Claver-Carone. “We do not want lost decades,” said the head of the IDB, who recalled that the organization promotes a medium-term plan, called Vision 2025, with which it seeks to achieve a sustainable and inclusive recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean. In his opinion, although “delays in connectivity and digitization” have drastically aggravated the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 in the region, that reality “also represents a historic opportunity to reduce inequality and generate employment and a sustainable economic growth “. The head of the Washington-based bank today inaugurated the forum on digital economy that brings together entrepreneurs, investors and businessmen in person and virtually with a clear message: “this is the time to move on to the new digital page.” Miami-LAC 2021 is the first business forum organized by the organization to promote trade and investment opportunities between South Florida and the Latin American and Caribbean region. Most of the speakers highlighted that Miami has an expanding digital ecosystem, in addition to cultural and other ties with the region, which makes it call to be the center in the United States that helps Latin American technology companies and Caribbean to capitalize and globalize. MIAMI, PUENTE Y FINANCIADOR According to IDB data released in this forum, the Latin American technology industry obtained financing in 2020 for a record 4.1 million dollars from US venture capital companies. Claver-Carone, from Miami, pointed out that a third of Latin America’s resources circulate in this South Florida city, in addition to hosting hundreds of venture capital companies and being among the 60 most important urban centers in the world in regarding business opportunity. “Miami plays a transcendental role,” said Markus Dantus, CEO and founder of Startup Mexico, while Thomas “Tiger” Wenrich, of LAB Miami Ventures, indicated that “the history of technology in Miami and that of Latin America and the Caribbean are intertwined. ” The study Digital Divide in Latin America and the Caribbean: Annual Report of the Broadband Development Index, indicates that not only investments are needed, but also more public-private partnerships to eliminate the difference with the OECD countries. 59% of the $ 68 billion needed to close the connectivity gap should go to urban areas and 41% to rural areas, according to the IDB. In terms of cost, the average citizens of the region must spend more than 20% of their income to access broadband services, a figure well above the 3% recommended by the International Telecommunications Union for these services to be considered affordable. . According to the global ranking of the 2020 broadband development index, which includes 65 countries, Barbados is the best-placed country in the region, ranked 31st, followed by Chile (33), Costa Rica (38), Brazil (39), Argentina (40), Uruguay (42) and Bahamas (43). Barbados, Uruguay and Argentina were the countries that in 2020 advanced the most in the ranking compared to 2018. In 2020, the gap related to strategic regulation in terms of connectivity narrowed compared to 2018 in Latin America and the Caribbean, but increased significantly. notable in other aspects due to delays in the implementation of public policies and the development of digital capabilities that can contribute to the use of new technologies in the region. The study recommends that the Central American countries invest in infrastructure and develop pedagogical applications and programs in the use of technology, and the Caribbean countries invest in infrastructure and update the normative and regulatory frameworks. The countries of the Southern Cone, for their part, should modernize their infrastructures and develop production models based on digital technologies, while the Andean countries should invest in infrastructure and develop public policies that allow for the implementation of public-private partnerships to reach the most remote areas. . (c) . Agency

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