Connectivity, social impulse and GDP in Latin America
Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean is still insufficient to reduce poverty and create jobs, so expanding digital connectivity and establishing complementary public policies could promote a more dynamic and inclusive society in the future.
According to the study Conectados: Digital technologies for inclusion and growth, carried out by the World Bank, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Latin America and the Caribbean will have an increase close to 2.0% at the end of this year, that is , slightly above the projected 1.4% previously, but still below that of all other regions of the world.
Added to this is that the expected growth rates for 2024 and 2025 are 2.3 and 2.6%, respectively, which places them at levels of the 2010s and insufficient to achieve progress in terms of inclusion and poverty reduction.
There is something more than the global situation that is holding us back and we have to look at what structural changes we need to encourage our growth,” highlighted the World Bank's chief economist for Latin America and the Caribbean, William Maloney.
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When presenting the study, he considered that there is a lack of dynamism in several areas of the region, such as less trade than expected considering the geographical position and several international treaties; to which is added taking advantage of opportunities such as nearshoring.
Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, vice president of the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean, agreed that the region has proven to be resilient to the various external shocks following the health crisis. However, growth remains “anemic.”
This is why countries must urgently find ways to drive inclusion and growth, improve governance and build social consensus.
Digital solutions can be part of the answer, helping to complement structural reforms to increase productivity, improve service delivery and support government efficiency. We see a great opportunity here for the region,” Jaramillo highlighted.
Maloney agreed that the Public and private investment in connectivity would help stimulate new sectors and jobs, offer new areas of trade and increase the efficiency, quality and inclusion of government programs ranging from education to agricultural extension in rural areas. However, he accepted that digital connectivity is not a “magic bullet” for growth and, if not careful, can exacerbate inequalities.
The study found some existing gaps and opportunities around the digitalization of the regionFor example, There is widespread mobile internet access, but a coverage gap persists for 7% of the population, which represents 45 million people.
Without forgetting that 38% of the region's population lives in areas with Internet coverage, but chooses not to connect due to the high cost of Internet services, the lack of awareness about the possible advantages of connectivity and the lack of knowledge of digital platforms.
To solve the above, a combination of technological innovation and laws that facilitate access to the Internet are required.
GAPS CONTINUE IN INTERNET COVERAGE AND USE IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
- Coverage gap: 45 million people (7% of the population)
- Usage gap: 240 million people (38% of population)
- Internet subscribers: 343 million people (55% of the population)
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