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The importance of Latin America to Telefónica cannot be overstated. More than 70% of Telefonica’s 320 million customers live in Latin America. For 20 years, Telefónica has been the leading foreign investor in Latin America.

ANDICOM 2016, which took place in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia early this month, provided an opportunity for Telefónica to restate its commitment and open up conversations about the progress of digital life and development across the region.

Presenting to an audience of over 2,500 professionals, tech experts, entrepreneurs and policy makers, Telefónica’s Global Head of Public and Regulatory Affairs Carlos López Blanco, began the discussion by officially launching the Telefónica Index on Digital Life to the region.

Using Colombia as an example, Carlos explored the Index findings and their implications. Encouragingly, in an index which assessed 34 countries worldwide on the extent of their digital development, Colombia – along with the USA, Canada, UK and Chile – lead the pack in outperformance relative to its GPD Per Capita.

His speech covered some key highlights for Colombia, including notes that:

  • Colombia is the second best performing economy across-the-board among the Latin American countries ranked in TIDL, right after Chile.
  • Colombia is Latin America’s most outstanding over-performer in Digital Life relative to its GDP per capita.
  • It beats GDP-predicted expectations in all domains of Digital Life, showing equal over-performance in each.

Carlos’ speech also stressed that, despite these strong in-roads, Colombia has no room for complacency. An example he used was that Colombia only performs to the Latin American average for innovation.

In order for digital life and development prosper in Colombia, and Latin America more generally, Carlos stressed that the possibilities of technology should be open to everyone.

To achieve this sense of openness forward-looking, fairer public policies are needed when it comes to addressing digital access, openness, confidence and entrepreneurship. Carlos’ speech stressed that Telefónica will drive these changes and help people to access and enjoy the best that technology can offer, but that more action is required.

Specifically, he called for the following commitments:

  • All governments to make a proper assessment of the necessary investment in digital infrastructure needed to strengthen the digital economy
  • Increased investment and support for innovation and R&D from governments and the state
  • A greater emphasis on the adoption and support for home-grown tech within the Latin American region
  • Increased access to access to digital education and skills training for universal adoption
  • Support for digital leaders who are willing to champion and take responsibility for the impact generated by the digital opportunity

You can read a more detailed overview of Carlos’ speech here.