By Narayan Ammachchi
The digital economy accounts for 3.2 percent of GDP in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico, says a new study from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
As far as the digital economy is concerned, the ECLAC says, countries in the region are progressing at ‘two very different technological speeds’.
In some countries, information and communications technologies (ICTs) are having a positive impact on economic growth, while in other countries progress is slower.
“The three most advanced countries have 15 times as much development than the ones lagging the furthest behind. Furthermore, the digital divide between Latin America and countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in terms of mobile broadband is getting wider (11% versus 55% penetration in 2011),” said Alicia Bárcena, ECLAC Executive Secretary, addressing the ongoing Ministerial Conference on the information society in Uruguayan capital Montevideo.
Bárcena urged the countries to promote the digital economy combining new industrial and technological policy strategies and involving all production sectors and social groups.
The components of the digital economy are the telecommunications infrastructure – particularly broadband networks — software, apps, hardware and ICT services.
“The digital economy is a crucial force for boosting structural change, making progress to reduce inequality and strengthening the social inclusion that our countries need so desperately,” she emphasized during her speech at the Fourth Ministerial Conference on the information society in Uruguay.
In ten member countries, she said, broadband service tariff had come down by 67 percent over the past two years. The Commission has reiterated that state intervention was essential for promoting ICT sector in the region.