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The digital strategies of Latin American governments

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26 January 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Several Latin American countries have unveiled new digital development agendas during 2021 for the coming years.

The most recent case was Mexico, which three years after the start of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government, created a framework for its digital strategy.

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The week saw the national commission for regulatory improvement (Conamer) publish the digital strategy document for 2021-2024, which will come into force after its publication in the official gazette.

Mexico’s agenda joins three other initiatives presented so far this year in the region.

Uruguay has already approved its new digital agenda while Paraguay is in the midst of a public consultation process for its telecommunications policy strategy.

Costa Rica, meanwhile, recently began work to develop a plan that will come into effect in 2022.

COSTA RICA

At the end of June, the first phase to create the national telecommunications development plan for 2022-2027 was completed with the participation of the government, private sector, academia and civil society. The plan was unveiled on the country’s telecommunications day, as deputy sector minister Teodoro Willink had previously told BNamericas.

The objective was to collect information about telecommunications infrastructure, radio spectrum, digital skills and abilities, universal access, universal service and solidarity, as well as sustainable and resilient cities.

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The project’s final draft is expected this month, with the aim of holding a public consultation in September.

MEXICO

The 2021-2024 digital strategy is based on five principles, aligned with López Obrador’s policy: austerity, fight against corruption, efficiency in digital processes, information security and technological sovereignty.

Although it includes objectives and lines of action, the strategy does not provide details on goals or progress-related metrics.

It is divided into two areas: the federal public administration and social policy.

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Regarding public administration, the main objectives are: to improve and harmonize the regulatory framework of the digital policy through a comprehensive and simplified articulation of the country’s technological guidelines; standardize ICT purchases through transparent, cost-effective actions that generate savings and maximize the responsible use of public resources; promote autonomy and technological independence to establish the state’s leadership its ICT policy area; obtain the maximum use of computing applications and infrastructure through the exchange of information and technological collaboration; promote a culture of information security; support the continuity and improvement of projects and programs.

The digital policy sets out to fiber optic lightening at public sector authorities, especially state-owned electric utility CFE. It plans to use institutional networks and services to expand capacity and coverage and promote free connectivity in public squares, health centers, hospitals and community spaces.

The agenda also includes internet deployment in areas without coverage in coordination with the private sector for last-mile connectivity and the use of the country’s Red Compartida network.

Finally, it is established to improve the quality of social programs through technological solutions that facilitate and accompany actions aimed at the well-being of the population.

PARAGUAY

Telecommunications regulator Conatel has put out the 2021-2025 national telecommunications plan for public consultation, with objectives that include sector coverage, penetration and service quality.

Based on a major evaluation of the local market, which includes the recognition of unfulfilled objectives from 2020, a new plan was created.

The strategy proposes a regulation that allows investment and encourages affordability and competition; support for the expansion of networks and infrastructure and connectivity for micro firms and SMEs, e-government and ICT skills, as well as a compliance mechanism for goals related to coverage, tariffs and prices, among others.

The public consultation will end the week of August 23 and work will then begin on the final version of the new policy, which does not yet have a publication date.

URUGUAY

The country’s 2025 digital agenda includes expansion of the fiber-to-the-home network to towns with fewer than 3,000 inhabitants, allocation of new spectrum bands, national 4G coverage and sensors for public services.

There is a special focus on taking digital transformation towards Industry 4.0, accelerating the adoption of processes based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and automation in strategic productive sectors, with the aim of promoting competitiveness.

The agenda includes incorporating IoT into the country’s electricity, water, communications and transportation services, with the installation of meters and sensors to improve customer service and boost competitiveness.

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