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ASIET Executive Director, Pablo Bello, proposed to create a regional platform for digitalization studies with the support of the Commission European Union and international organizations, in a renewed model of cooperation to address the challenge of understanding the processes of digital transformation and responding to shared challenges, in the Forum for Digital cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
Policy Makers and representatives of international organizations and private sector leaders of ICT of the EU and LAC were gathered in Costa Rica for the ‘2nd workshop on digital cooperation’, organized by the European Commission as a continuation of a previous one held in July in Brussels. The forum seeks to identify collaboration spaces to create solutions regarding digital market regulations, e-commerce platforms, or media and cybersecurity. In this line, the CEO of ASIET, Pablo Bello, recalled a proposal made by French President Emmanuel Macron, which aimed to build a third alternative model. Something in the middle of the deregulated Silicon Valley proposal and the Chinese statist model, pointing that “Latin America and the EU are strategic partners to build a digitalization model that contributes to social welfare, economic growth, integration and quality of life improvement”. Bello explained that “partial or national solutions in a global context such as Internet are – just partial and imperfect” and invited all the stakeholders to collaborate in a new cooperation model in digitalization field, joining to build a common space to address the challenge of understanding the processes of digital transformation and find solutions to shared challenges.
Pablo Bello pointed out that in order “to obtain different results, we need to do things different in terms of digitalization and cooperation”, since “the development of our people cannot wait much longer”. Latin America is one of the regions where productivity has grown the least in recent years, and faces fundamental challenges for its future development, such as the deployment of high quality telecommunications infrastructure that is required to face the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution; and close existing connectivity gaps between countries, between urban and rural areas, between men and women or between young and the elderly people.
The digitalization of Latin America and the Caribbean study platform would be a multi-stakeholder space “to give an appropriate approach that contributes to enrich and raise the quality of public policy debate” as well as “to promote research, create knowledge and endorse exchange and debate based on evidence of ICT impact”. The project would contribute to “obtain objective elements of analysis so better public policy decisions can be made” through “conducting studies, generating capacity building, creating adequate and robust indicators to understand the impacts of processes we are experiencing, and good practices sharing.” It is about “channeling cooperation in this matter to push in the same direction”. This common space could be joined by entities such as supranational and international cooperation agencies, regulators, governments, development banks, technical community, academia, associations and companies from the private sector, as well as other existing think tanks of the region such as Centro Latam Digital or cet.la, would be a tool to address the challenges of competition in the digital ecosystem and the necessary regulatory update in a context in which it is required to face paradigmatic changes in economic, political and social levels.
ASIET makes this public and extends the invitation to all regional and international entities interested in advancing in this direction, and calls for the next Latin American Telecommunications Congress, to be held from July 1 to 5 in Córdoba (Argentina), to be the place to build the consensus that allows the initiative to come true.