A retired businessman, Daniel Chavez Moran understands the value of investing in infrastructure improvements for future growth. Through his philanthropic work with the non-profit Vidanta Foundation, he seeks to promote scholarship in the social sciences to influence the formulation of public policies that strengthen democracy and economic sustainability for the future of Latin America.
Chavez Moran notes with interest this recent technology article from The Atlantic, a U.S. publication, on how expanded broadband internet access in Latin America can create a pathway to jobs:
Is a poor broadband network holding back the region's economy? Investing in infrastructure doesn't mean just roads and bridges anymore.
In the days of the Great Depression, governments built roads and bridges in an attempt to nudge the economy into a recovery. Is expanding the broadband network the 21st-century equivalent?
Latin America is ripe for such an effort, argues Raul L. Katz of Columbia Business School. The underdeveloped broadband network there is holding back the region from faster economic growth.
In 2008, 5.5 percent of people living in Latin America had access to broadband Internet. In Europe and America, around a quarter of people did. Chile, the Latin American country with the most developed broadband network, still has a lower rate of access (8.4 percent) than Greece, the lowest-ranking European country surveyed.
The potential jobs growth will come from closing the gap between the demand for broadband (estimated based on the size of the Latin American economies) and its availability. The largest gaps are in Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela. Additionally, about 15 percent of Internet users have dial-up connections, many of whom would switch over to faster broadband were it available and affordable.
Greater Internet access could certainly encourage the development of businesses ranging from small tech start-ups to global firms.
Related posts: Daniel Chavez Moran on the economic outlook for 2011 and Daniel Chavez Moran on Latin America’s decade of growth.