Digitalization, key to overcome the economic effects of the pandemic

Casa América organizes a virtual conference on new technologies and their impact on the continent
Poster of the debate organized by Casa América this Monday

 -   Poster of the debate organized by Casa América this Monday

Latin America is currently suffering the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. The situation will be complicated in the coming years and recovery will be slower than in Europe. "The great weight of the informal economy, the low growth and the lack of fiscal space will condition a lot the way out of the crisis", lamented Carlos Santiso, director of digital innovation of the state of the Development Bank CAF, during his intervention in a virtual conference organized this Monday by Casa América. Opportunity for the continent comes with technology. The digital transformation has accelerated and can be of great help in alleviating the economic and social crisis.

"New technologies have enabled us to weather the coronavirus crisis. All the sectors that have been able to move into the digital world. The digitalisation process has had a significant boost", said Manuel Muñiz, Secretary of State for España Global, during his speech. The current scenario, although it poses great challenges, is the great opportunity for the State to transform itself. "In this crisis we have realized how important it is to have strong institutions. Digitalization will now help us to implement more efficient solutions for citizens and provide us with a weapon in the fight against corruption," Santiso explained. 

PHOTO/ATALAYAR - Carlos Santiso, Director of State Innovation at CAF, with Miguel Muñiz, Secretary of State for Spain Global, Rosa Jiménez Cano, moderator and Trinidad Jiménez, Director of Global Public Affairs Strategy at Telefónica during the virtual debate organised by Casa América

The benefits of using technology in health are undoubted, but the digitization of education, especially in the early stages, is one of the great challenges. "It's essential to work on this. We are aware of the digital divide that exists and we must continue to work to narrow it," said Trinidad Jiménez, director of Global Public Affairs Strategy at Telefónica. Jiménez explained that the health sector is already adapting and more and more hospitals are beginning to digitize their infrastructures. 

The battle for data

New technologies involve the generation of hundreds of user data that can generate great economic benefits. "A global framework for data processing is still lacking. The crisis has accelerated that debate. A multilateral solution is needed," said Santiso, who stressed the opportunity for the public sector to process data well. "Governments organize many public policies based on fiscal data, it is time to do something similar with all the information that new technologies offer us," he said. 

Europe, unlike China and the United States, has developed extensive legislation to protect consumer data. "We believe that data has great economic and social value. But we believe they belong to our clients, and we are open to seeing the public discussions that are taking place on this issue," said Jiménez. Manuel Muñiz has warned of the danger of manipulating data for political or commercial purposes. "Data ownership is one of the pillars of individual freedom," he said.