Telefónica and CAF -development bank of Latin America- renew their strategic collaboration agreement for the development of initiatives to accelerate digitalisation in the region through effective cooperation to advance towards a fairer, more inclusive and sustainable society by promoting transformative, cross-cutting measures that contribute to achieving milestones on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined in the 2030 Agenda.
The alliance, which runs until 2022, aims to serve as a catalyst in this post-COVID scenario where everything has accelerated and transformed, opening it up to other entities and governments, enabling the creation of public-private consortiums to promote an economic and social recovery that leaves no one behind and benefits from the opportunities and advantages offered by the new digital society.
For José Antonio García Belaunde, CAF's representative in Europe, continuing to join forces with a strategic partner such as Telefónica is of the utmost importance for the digital transformation of Latin America. "After the serious health, economic and social crisis that the region has experienced with the pandemic, it is more necessary than ever to promote programmes, projects and initiatives that contribute to closing the existing digital divide and promote more connected and developed societies," said García Belaunde.
Trinidad Jiménez, Global Director of Public Affairs and Strategy, said: "The 2030 Agenda recognises the essential role of organisations in achieving the goals and it is everyone's responsibility to accelerate them significantly. For this reason, the alliance between Telefónica and CAF is an example of a key public-private partnership to promote, drive and develop the digital transformation of the region".
Telefónica and CAF joined forces in 2017 and as a result of this first stage, actions have been developed in three areas: connectivity; digital transformation; education and training.
Internet for All
Under the premise that open markets and global trade continue to be the best model for bringing prosperity to all and that globalisation and digitalisation should benefit more people everywhere, regardless of where they live or are located, "Internet for All" is framed. This project, with the participation of CAF, Telefónica, IDB Invest, and Facebook, aims to reach more than 6 million Peruvians in rural locations on the coast, highlands and jungle of the country with 4G mobile broadband coverage. IpT was launched commercially in May 2019 and in two years of operation has managed to improve the quality of life of more than two million Peruvians in 12,000 communities in 23 of Peru's 24 departments through the benefits and opportunities of connectivity by providing access to telemedicine, digital education and borderless business development. In addition, 4G IpT coverage reached more than 18,000 educational institutions by 2020, facilitating tele-education programmes led by the Peruvian Ministry of Education in response to the isolation generated by COVID-19.
Digital transformation for productivity
After the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, recovering the path of economic growth will critically depend on the capacity of economies to increase their productivity and on the different sectoral chains adapting to new operating schemes characterised by low contact. For this reason, in 2020, CAF, with the support of Telefónica, launched the "Regional strategy for the digital transformation of the productive sectors" with a practical application to the digitalisation of the agro-industrial chain of the ICA Valley in Peru. This strategy promotes the use of digital infrastructures and technologies in production processes, as well as contributing to overcoming productivity traps in the region. The development of digital transformation roadmaps for production chains was also approved for Ecuador and the digitalisation model will be developed throughout 2021.
Capacity building for digital policies
And because digitisation, by itself, is not enough, the third axis of collaboration is considered fundamental, because people are the ones who drive change forward, and therefore it is vital to address inequalities by investing in digital skills and competences training, as well as sharing the new knowledge generated. During this stage, and of all the initiatives carried out, more than 87,000 people have enrolled in courses and events on the digital agenda, the use of data and artificial intelligence. In this regard, the development of a comprehensive knowledge and training agenda for authorities and regulators in the region should be highlighted with the development of the IBEI-ECLAC-CAF Summer School, which is supported by the Telefónica Chair. This initiative addresses the challenges of digital transformation and innovation in Latin America and aims to present and deepen a series of topics related to digitisation and its impact on closing the digital divide, employment, the digitisation of production through Big Data, artificial intelligence and blockchain, as well as the regulation of innovation from a comparative perspective of Europe and Latin America. 150 digital policymakers from 16 Latin American countries have participated in this initiative.