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The Colombian government will prioritize making the country a leader in the development of social apps to benefit lower socioeconomic groups and achieve greater efficiency in the public sector over the next four years, deputy ICT minister María Carolina Hoyos said.
The government of recently reelected President Juan Manuel Santos has set out an ambitious national ICT strategy for the coming four years, including the development of social apps with a focus on poverty reduction, healthcare, agriculture and SMEs.
ICT minister Diego Molano maintained a strong focus on boosting infrastructure as part of the country's national ICT plan in 2010-14, and is now planning to focus more on applications.
The opportunity to turn Colombia into a hub for applications which help reduce poverty is an opportunity both at home and abroad, according to the minister.
There are 25mn people in poverty in Colombia, but also almost 4bn globally who will sooner or later be connected to the internet, he said.
The government has already begun to encourage the development of specialized apps for sectors including agribusiness and coffee production.
During the next four years, ICT ministry Mintic will focus on establishing digital medical records for patients, and the expansion of telemedicine services to boost access to healthcare among the population.
In the agribusiness sector, the government is set to develop apps to improve productivity and public information platforms.
Mintic is also planning to continue efforts to boost internet penetration among microenterprises in the coming four years, double the number of small companies with a social media presence, and increase the number of microenterprises which make e-commerce transactions to 30% in 2018 from 2% this year.