B Mendez C Baradello Digital Divide Conference Haas Unido April2006
Digital Divide or Digital Inequality: Recent trends in Latin America and Mexico Digital Divide Conference 2006 UNIDO/Haas Business School UC Berkeley Bernardo Mendez Trade Consul of Mexico San Francisco
In By 12/31/2005, the global Internet population accounted 1B The projections for 2007 are of more than 1.35B people online…* http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm 15.7% World average 52.9% Oceania/australia 2.5% Africa 9.6% Middle East/Arab States 9.9% Asia 14.3% Latin America & the Caribbean 35.9% Europe 68% North America % Macro-region
Challenges and Opportunities: Latin America, including Mexico and the four largest Caribbean nations, is comprised of 26 countries with a total population of approximately 530M. This enormous market presents an extraordinary opportunity for providers of all types of products and services — at least potentially. The picture is clouded, however, by vast differences in income distribution — and in Internet access — among various population groups and countries. One important result has been comparatively low Internet penetration.
Income Distribution in the Americas Stark income disparities between North and South and within LA Contries. *Source: Carlos Baradello, Will Latin America Benefit From The Networked World? Technology Adoption by Global Markets March 3, 2005 – University of San Francisco
Concepts and ideas: We have to move beyond the limited view of haves and have-nots and discuss access and inclusion with a global development perspective. How to build access, create knowledge and promote human capital using communication technologies as the key enabler. Effective integration of technologies into communities, and people’s ability to use technologies for enhancing their economic and social practices. As discussed by Mark Warschauer in his book Technology and Social Inclusion ( Rethinking the Digital Divide, The MIT Press, London 2003
Polemic views to consider: Digital divide may have the effect of locking developing countries into a new form of dependency from the West. The technologies and "regimes" (international standards governing ICTs) are designed by developed country entities for developed country conditions. As the developing countries participate in ICTs, they may become more vulnerable to the complexity of hardware and software and to the quasimonopolistic power of providers of key ICT services. T he global aid industry, by linking aid to good governance and to programs to digitize the public sector ( e-governance ), may be reinforcing their dependency. As discussed by Robert Hunter Wade in his article Bridging the digital divide: New route to develpment or new form of dependency?
Efforts from the Mexican Government: The current government administration has focused as one of its principal commitments to bring more Mexicans to the knowledge society through ICTs and thus democratizing access to knowledge and services, which is an indispensable factor for closing the digital divide phenomenon. The e-Mexico Portal is the means by which the National e-Mexico System responds to the challenge of being an integrating project that articulates the interests of the different government levels, states and public agencies, telecommunication network operators, and chambers and associations linked to ICTs, as well as different institutions. The goal is to expand the coverage and access of basic services such as education, health, economy, government and science, technology and industry, and other community services. Source: ww.e-gobierno.gob.mx
Mexican University Corporation for the Internet Development and International connectivity (www.cudi.edu.mx) TIJUANA UCSD (CALIFORNIA) UACJ UTEP(TEXAS) 1 Gb 1 Gb CLARA 45 Mb (Optic Fiber property of WHREN project from NSF) (Optic Fiber property of the Mexican University Corporation for the Internet Development CUDI
Comments to Bernardo’s Presentation Digital Divide or Digital Inequality: Recent trends in Latin America and Mexico by Carlos S. Baradello Ph.D.
Reason for Hope… <ul><li>Decentralization: empowerment of the user via more intelligent clients (or client over provisioning) and the cost of communication approaching zero! </li></ul><ul><li>Techno parity and cost benefits open new opportunities. (Content, Apps, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Initial trend in the promotion of entrepreneurship, Angel investors and venture capital formation. </li></ul>
…or Despair? <ul><li>Net importers of gadgets </li></ul><ul><li>“Hollywood content” increases the </li></ul><ul><li> relative poverty and cultural </li></ul><ul><li> dependency of questionable values. </li></ul><ul><li>Enlightened leadership? At both </li></ul><ul><li> sides of the divide </li></ul><ul><li>Urgency of the problems vs. </li></ul><ul><li> Education </li></ul>
CREATING VIRTUOS BUSINESS CYCLES BY EXPLOITING UNIQUE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES Unique Products/ Services For the EU Seeking Competitive Advantage in the Hispanics Markets (US and Latin America) Large Markets Competitive Costs Outsourcing/Near-shoring Product Localization Early Adopters Trend Setters Wealthy Consumers “ Hispanization” of the USA
Integration and Free Trade: A necessity, An irreversible consequence, or Neo-colonialism? A Matter of Perspective