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Half of Latin Americans lack internet access

Staff writer |
Half of the population in Latin America lacks access to the Internet and only 10 percent of the region’s people have a broadband connection, according to figures from the CAF Development Bank of Latin America released in Miami.

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Despite advances, Latin America continues to face a digital divide and eliminating that divide will require additional investment of $143 billion, in the view of the authors of a forthcoming study.

The report was sponsored by CAF, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Inter American Association of Research Centers and Telecommunications Companies, and the Telefonica Foundation.

In the business sector, the study found, digital penetration is in the range of 70 percent.

Two-thirds of manufacturing companies in the region use computers, Internet and email, but firms in the realms of supply and distribution still have much to do.

Narrowing the digital divide “can be achieved through public and private efforts,” CAF telecommunications analyst Mauricio Agudelo said in a statement.

“An additional $143 billion is required to close that gap between now and 2020,” he said.

“Those $143 billion will not just materialize on their own in the absence of an institutional framework promoting investment and competition, and a reduction in uncertainty for companies.”

CAF figures show that over the past five years, adoption of information technology in Latin America has added 4.3 percent to the regional gross domestic product and has generated more than 900,000 jobs, becoming a key element to mitigate the economic slowdown.

“Despite the slowdown throughout Latin America, a larger presence of this sector in the economy improves productivity and accelerates countries’ rate of growth,” Agudelo said.

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