1 Panel. Future Telecommunications Services. Underserved populations. Digital Gap and Content Gap: the Latin American reality. Saadia Sánchez Vegas, Ph.D.
2 CONTENTS LA: KEY FACTS LA: DIGITAL REALITY CONCLUDING REMARKS REFERENCES
3 Globalization as a major influencing factor on the international agenda1. High poverty, inequity and social exclusion levels Structural and interdependent phenomena Structural and non-structural asymmetries Asymmetries as regards digital development ICTs R&D and Innovation. Economic growth Heterogeneity LA: KEY FACTS Various Development Models / Geo-political map (2006- ) Democracies with persistent democratic and social participation deficits Weak social cohesion
4 MAIN CHALLENGE Globalization calls for joint efforts by the countries to undertake courses of action as well as coordination among the main actors involved, based on the recognition of complementarities, partnership and cooperation. LA: KEY FACTS TO BUILD A REGIONAL VISION WITH A STRATEGIC SENSE Knowledge-based economy and society Social, commercial and digital integration Systemic relations: the State- Society-Enterprises Quality and management of public policies aimed at: ICTs as enablers for value-adding processes Social appropriation of ICTs
5 LA: DIGITAL REALITY DIGITAL GAP2 CONTENT GAP Access to ICTs Increased access to mobile telephones Quality of access Low access to broad band service ICT usage Insufficient impact on the productive and social processes Organization of information resources Knowledge diffusion Meaningful information KM models to support : Institutional-entrepreneurial management R&D and Innovation Information systems for the productive sector / MSMEs Evaluation systems to measure e.g. the economic impact of ICT in LA countries
6 LA: DIGITAL REALITY Penetration of Internet in Latin America 18.8% (data from UNCTAD for 2006, 20073) - 20% (data from CEPAL/ECLAC for 2006, 20084). According to UNCTAD (20073), LA has experienced a sustained annual increase in Internet penetration although still insufficient, except for Chile compared with other regions of the world. Penetration of Internet is correlated with income levels (+ income + access), educational level (+ education + access), residential areas (urban areas + access vs. rural areas - access) given the uneven availability of ICT infrastructure, as well as gender (women access) and ethnic group (indigenous groups access)5. The digital gap mirrors the social gap in the region. Penetration of Broad Band services LA: 2% - OECD countries: 15% (data from the ITU for 2006, 20066). This low penetration rate has a negative impact on the access and use of contents in the global Web.
7 LA: DIGITAL REALITY LA: Public policies on ICTs and infrastructure development 4. Source: CEPAL/ECLAC, (Based on OSILAC, UNDP, DIRSI, ICA-IDRC, Digital Review 2008).
8 CONCLUDING REMARKS Knowledge creation, R&D and Innovation, and enabling ICTs for adding value, as key components in the models and strategies for development, require political will and strategic vision. Public policies to promote universal access to ICTs; multi-stake holder participation; management continuity; strengthening of institutions, are necessary to foster ICT development. Emphasis on the organization of the needed information resources for decisionmaking (e.g. e-commerce, e-goverment) and support to R&D and innovation; as well as exchange of best practices, e.g. e-research model of the Universidad de Los Andes (Venezuela); Organic Law on Science and Technology of Venezuela (LOCTI). Focus on training and retention of human resources required for the ICT sector. There are business opportunities in the much needed contents creation industry not yet sufficiently explored. It is necessary to identify information needs and to pursue users training on ICT usage (including mobile telephone technology) which in turn will have a positive impact on the individual and social appropriation of ICT.
9 REFERENCES 1. The globalization impacts on the Latin American reality is developed by Rojas Aravena, Francisco La Integración Regional: Un proyecto político estratégico in Regional Dialogue for Latin America and the Caribbean vis-à-vis the XII Ministerial Conference of UNCTAD. March 26, Caracas, Venezuela. 2. The definition of Digital Gap as it is presented in this paper is developed by Guerra, Massiel et al. Panorama Digital de América Latina y el Caribe Serie. W SOCINFO. Santiago, Chile: CEPAL/ECLAC, p UNTACD Secretariat. Information Economy Report : Science and Technology for Development: the new paradigm of ICT. New York and Geneva: United Nations, p For the empirical data and report, see: Cecchini, Simone. Oportunidades digitales, equidad y pobreza en América Latina: Qué podemos aprender de la evidencia empírica?. Santiago, Chile: CEPAL/ECLAC, p CEPAL/ECLAC. Panorama Digital de América Latina y el Caribe 2007 in the Launch Seminar - Latin America and Caribbean Regional Network of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development. Global Alliance for ICT for Development (GAID-UN). San Salvador, El Salvador. February 4 y 5, Data from UIT. The World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Database, 2006.
10 Thank you.