Colombia, at the regional forefront of ICT
Colombia has embarked on a plan to expand technology infrastructure and Internet usage, especially among businesses and rural communities, through greater fiber-optic networks
Straight out of the gate in October of last year, President Santos announced that the government would invest $3 billion over the next four years in ICT infrastructure as part of the new President’s Democratic Prosperity platform, which aims to create equality of opportunity and narrow prosperity gaps.
Entitled Vive Digital (Digital Living) Colombia, the program aims to significantly expand Colombia’s ICT industry and infrastructure while promoting increased nationwide Internet usage.
Vive Digital aims to strengthen the entire digital ecosystem, from infrastructure, services, and applications to end-users.
“Vive Digital is a model of inclusion and digital-gap reduction by means of an ecosystem which identifies development levers for the new economy, that is, the economy of knowledge, information and clean technologies,” says Minister of Telecommunications Diego Molano Vega.
“This forms part of the main objectives that President Santos has established for his government, which include poverty reduction, job generation and peace consolidation through improvements in the country’s competitiveness and productivity. It is not about turning Colombia into a Silicon Valley. It is about providing a logical balance between its rapid growth and technology penetration in society.”
Colombia is already at the regional forefront of various ICT-related initiatives. Last summer, the country inaugurated a new bioinformatics center, one of the first in Latin America. Expected to be a vital tool in Colombia’s technological development, the center will process and store data, as well as develop software and offer technical and scientific support to companies.
Colombia was the Latin American country with the greatest growth in Internet use in 2009, with more than a million new subscribers, of which 915,000 were cell phone-based. In the first quarter of last year, investment in the Internet grew 50% over the same period in 2009. Bogota’s Museum of Modern Art can now be accessed through an iPhone application, another Latin American first.
Similarly, though Colombia is already number one in electronic government in the region according to a UN study, the government has declared its intentions to set an example by digitalizing all its departments and eliminating paper use by 2014. In addition, Colombia’s new communications satellite, Satcol, will be launched at the beginning of 2013, providing telecommunications access to more than 22,000 rural communities.
A UNITED WORLD SUPPLEMENT PRODUCED BY:
Gemma Gutierrez, Alvaro Buenaventura, Carlos Rodriguez-Villa, Irama Vega, Alberto Mariscal, and Saturnino Izquierdo