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The pandemic and the acceleration of digital transformation: The role of public policy

Montevideo, March 2021- In the two previous articles in the collection Pandemic and Acceleration of Digital Transformation, the topics addressed were, on the one hand, the acceleration forced by circumstances, in which the pandemic accelerated the transformation processes that were already underway in the countries of the region. On the other hand, the uneven impact of digital growth in the sectors and countries of Latin America was discussed. On this occasion, the focus of this third article in the collection is the role of public policies in this context.

Raúl Echeberría, Executive Director of ALAI, and specialists from eLAC-CEPAL’s Technical Secretariat expressed that, in light of the crisis, the regional governments have been urged to take several measures in relation to the use of digital technologies. Echeberría’s opinion is that “many countries have hit a regulatory wall and have realized that their regulations are not suitable for the needs imposed by the pandemic nor are they appropriate for the development of the digital economy.” An example of this are the regulations that set up barriers to remote work, already in place in many countries.

It is also worth mentioning that there are initiatives to ensure the affordability of and the access to the Internet, as stated by eLAC-CEPAL. “Many countries have urged their operators to provide low-cost services and have prohibited them to cut off their services due to non-payment. They have also enabled access to certain apps or websites related to health services and education at no cost.”

At the same time, the governments in the region have developed their own digital tools in response to the pandemic. Mainly, these are apps with different features. They provide health information, conduct self-diagnoses, give information on quarantines and even schedule medical appointments, according to eLAC-CEPAL.

– The original post was published in the LACTLD Report No. 12