Latin American and Caribbean countries need to improve the skills of their populations, physical infrastructure, and institutions and regulations so that ICT can have a positive impact on development, according to a new study by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Besides acquiring and expanding access to information and communication technologies (ICT), countries must also evaluate and strengthen their capacity to use such tools.
In the study, author Alberto Chong analyzed how ICT contributed to the success of 46 development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean in the areas of finance, health, institutions, education, poverty and the environment.
Researchers found that at least 39% of projects in the sample benefitted strongly from the adoption of new technologies, while the remaining 61% benefitted only partially from employing ICT.
The trials show that in order for ICT to contribute to development, it is necessary to take into account human capital, the institutional context and government's policy goals.
The findings come as regional policymakers, seeking to narrow the digital divide that separates their countries from more developed nations, hope to boost investment in hardware and software to increase access to the latest ICT.