Marta Maurás, secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), said on Friday, June 10, that a large effort is needed to diminish the disparity between what developing countries spend on new technologies and the income of their populations.
Brazil spends 8% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on new information and communication technologies, the same percentage as in developed countries like France, despite the fact that the income of French people is much higher than that of Brazilians.
While the French spend US$ 2.5 thousand per head on new technologies, in Brazil the average outlay comes to between US$ 600 and US$ 700.
According to Maurás, who participated in the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Ministerial Conference, the investment in infrastructure and access must be used to advantage.
She told that there is a substantial gap between technological progress and the capacity of individuals and institutions to make use of these technologies.
“Therefore, it is not just a question of long-term education among young people. To bridge this gap right now, it is necessary to acquire the competence,” she affirmed.
According to the secretary, digital television, and even analogical television, could play such a role.
More investments are needed “to enhance the capacity to utilize these services, in order to be able to inaugurate a new era of open, participatory government, which is very positive and is our ambition, but to do it in a manner that takes advantage of the technology, what is called ‘electronic government,” she said. “So it is necessary to make investments.”
Since government resources are insufficient, Maurás emphasized that bridging the gap between development and technology, on the one hand, and higher income, on the other, requires action on various fronts. She observed that the digital electronic sector can be very dynamic, contributing to job creation as well.
The Ministerial Conference held in Rio is a preparatory meeting for the second stage of the World Summit on the Society of Information, scheduled for November in Tunisia.