Eclac: LatAm and Caribbean need common digital market

Eclac: LatAm and Caribbean need common digital market

A single digital market with a uniform legal framework and regulations for Latin America and the Caribbean would significantly improve conditions to expand the digital economy in the region, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Eclac).

The countries in the region are well behind developed nations in terms of digital readiness and are advancing at very different speeds. Despite making some progress in closing the digital divide and bringing connectivity to over 50% of the population, Latin America and the Caribbean still lack infrastructure, public policies and content.

The study "The new digital revolution," presented at the Fifth Ministerial Conference on the Information Society and Latin America in the Caribbean, being held in Mexico City, ranked the different factors that are holding back the digital economy in various countries in Latin America, including infrastructure, industry and content.

Panama, Chile and Argentina came out best in the study, ranked the 34th, 41st and 49th most prepared countries on a list of 65 countries. Lower down the scale were Mexico (51st), Brazil (52nd), Colombia (56th), Venezuela (55th) and Peru (60th). On the other hand, developed countries like the US and Germany were in the upper echlons of the list, placed in 6th and 11th place, respectively.

According to the study, a common digital market, similar to the Digital Single Market in the EU, would help erase these differences and guarantee the free circulation of digital goods and services, which would help companies expand faster.

Despite progress having been made in the digital environment, Latin America is still slow in transitioning to a digital economy.

The study on the digital ecosystem and economy, conducted by the Ibero-American telecoms operator association Asiet, shows that only 26 of the 100 most popular websites in Latin America correspond to local content. Most internet traffic is international (63%), which means that most revenue generated from internet traffic leaves the region.

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