CAF (Latin American development bank) and Oxford Insights publish the first GovTech Index of Latin America, an indicator that analyzes the integration of technology-based entrepreneurial ecosystems linked to government management, and evaluates the level of maturity of govtech ecosystems, the dynamism of the markets for digital start-ups and mimypes (micro, small and medium businesses) with a public vocation and the degree of innovation of public institutions.
The indicator, presented in the study 'GovTech 2020 Index: Unlocking the Potential of Govtech Ecosystems in Latin America, Spain and Portugal', takes into account three variables: digital start-ups, government policies and procurement system, and concludes that Latin American countries need to implement massively and efficiently new data-based digital solutions to provide better services to citizens and put them at the center of their management.
Despite the heterogeneity of the region, the GovTech 2020 Index suggests that the most digitized countries are better positioned to take advantage of govtech ecosystems. Cities have greater potential to take advantage of these new trends, given the dynamism of traditional digital start-ups and policies to encourage digital entrepreneurship, as seen in major cities such as Buenos Aires, Mexico City and São Paulo.
By country, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay and Colombia lead the GovTech 2020 Index ranking. Spain scored 6.6 out of 10, followed by Portugal (6.2), Chile (5.3), Brazil (5.2), Mexico (5.2), Uruguay (5.1) and Colombia (5); Meanwhile, the next in line are Argentina (4.1), Costa Rica (4), Peru (4), Panama (3.9), Dominican Republic (3.7), Bolivia (3.6), Ecuador (3.6), Paraguay (3.4) and Venezuela (2.3).
At the city level, the Index highlights the example of Guadalajara, Mexico, which through Visor Urbano is facilitating the processing of licenses for commercial or construction projects entirely on the web, while helping citizens obtain information on the city's urban development. There is also the success story of the municipalities of La Rioja, Alta Gracia and Rosario in Argentina, where MuniDigital offers a cloud-based, real-time data system that allows citizens to send alerts, file complaints and obtain news about recent developments in their municipality. In addition, for example, Teresina in Brazil is using blockchain technology and artificial intelligence to achieve a more efficient public transport system by digitizing passenger data.
This new CAF report highlights the importance and great innovative contribution of emerging and innovative companies or start-ups. "The most important recommendation of the GovTech 2020 Index is the enormous potential and growing dynamism of these digital startups that have a public vocation and want to improve the quality of life of citizens. GovTech proposes new public-private partnerships to accelerate the digital transformation of public administrations. Their contribution will be key to the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, which will be marked by the acceleration of the State's digital transformation," explains Carlos Santiso, CAF's Director of Digital Innovation.
Given that GovTech ecosystems emerged recently, and considering the acceleration of the digital transformation of governments in response to the coronavirus health crisis, the study predicts that in the coming years they will register a considerable increase, as there is a growing appetite on the part of the various executives to improve their traditional management through new digital solutions. Although Latin America, Spain and Portugal have improved in the incorporation of digital strategies, only a few countries recognize the importance of govtechs in their public policies.
In this way, CAF is once again making a contribution to the development of Latin America. The entity has always had the mission of promoting sustainable development and regional integration by financing public and private sector projects, providing technical cooperation and other specialized services. Established in 1970 and currently made up of 19 countries - 17 from Latin America and the Caribbean, along with Spain and Portugal - and 14 private banks, it is one of the main sources of multilateral financing and an important generator of knowledge and provider of solutions and innovations for regional development.
The full GovTech 2020 Index can be found at this link