As part of the WSIS Forum 2021, the South School on Internet Governance and CCAT LAT organized the Thematic Workshop:
New challenges for digital transformation in developing economies. How to profit from good experiences during COVID-19 pandemic and overcome the challenge of development in economic crisis
The COVID pandemic exposed all countries to several challenges: telework, working from home, home classes for students at all levels, different industries and businesses that made quick changes to adapt their activities and infrastructures to this new normal reality.
Some good outcomes have emerged, like the rapid reaction by several business, governments and organizations that could overcome the challenge, and some could even benefit from them.
At the same time there are many industries that suffered from this new reality, like tourism and air transportation, restaurants, among others. Other industries have adapted but at the same time its workers were exposed to other difficulties, like the lack of cybersecurity infrastructure at home offices, poor bandwidth or not updated computers for online teaching or learning.
Additionally, new social challenges appeared: higher workload for women at home, higher domestic violence related to lockdown and overcrowded homes.
In developing countries and economies, the gap between the connected and unconnected experienced a new exposure. In many locations the existing infrastructure is not ready yet to connect all the unconnected. Also the experience showed that those poorly connected had many difficulties in getting all the necessary information and communication tools for a reasonable working or learning activities, making the existing gap more evident and bigger. On the other hand, what will be the impact of a much desired higher connectivity in the developing world in the global environment?
The objective of the workshop was to exchange ideas among the expert panelists in trying to answer the following questions:
– How can developing economies embrace the positive changes that the COVID pandemic generated in the mid-long term?
– What can be done to enhance the existing infrastructure to connect the unconnected and enhance the connectivity of those poorly connected?
– How can the gender gap in technology be diminished in relation to access to ICT services and education?
– Are there regulations that could be developed or enhanced in order to address these new challenges?
– How can the impact on the environment be controlled in relation with the development of new infrastructure to connect the unconnected or poorly connected?
– Is it there regional or international financing for making improvements to infrastructure and so help the developing economies?
– Is the global ICT infrastructure prepared to overcome a higher connectivity demand, more than the one that the world has experienced during 2020 and today?
Invited experts to the workshop are:
Keynote speaker: Vinton G. Cerf – Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist – Google
Maryleana Méndez Giménez – Secretary General – ASIET
Germán Camilo Rueda – Vice Minister of Digital Transformation of the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications of Colombia
Jorge Pérez Martínez – Professor – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
Felix Hernández-Gil – Researcher – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
Miguel Porrúa – Coordinator of the Data and Digital Government Cluster at the IFD/ICS Unit – Inter-American Development Bank
Philipp Grabensee – Vice Chairman – Afilias
Désirée Miloshevic – Senior Public Policy and International Affairs Advisor – Afilias
Moderator: Olga Cavalli – Academic Director South School on Internet Governance