The last decade wasn’t a golden age for Latin American countries. Even the previous year, the growth of the region was far away from the potential that LatAm countries have. However, LatAm showed which are their strengths and their weakness.
In the next decade of the century, LatAm will need to work in its weak points and take advantage of the strongest ones. As a young region, —the age average in Latin America is thirty years old. Meanwhile, in Europe and the United States, it’s 40 and 37 years old, respectively.— Latin American can reach agile development in a few years if it arranges the board at its convenience.
How can Latin America close the gap between the most developed economies in the world? There’s not a magic recipe for that. Economic organizations like the Inter-American Bank for Development (IADB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) had tried to find solutions for the inequality and poverty of the region. Some of them had worked. Currently, emergent economies like Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Argentina have become attractive options for investment of Foreign Capital. But Foreign Investment frequently finds some issues that make the business harder, like the lack of professionals related to the Industry’s Processes.
Here are some suggestions to boost Latin America’s development. Economic organizations have repeated most of these suggestions many times, and some Latin American countries have started to work on them, and even have shown up results. This decade could be a miracle age for LatAm. Lucky us, also it could be the start of a golden age.
Relevant Education for High-tech jobs
A highly educated population has boost most of the Asian countries, from India to South Korea. In a few years, India won prestige by being one of the best spots for software development; China became the best place for manufacturing, and South Korea and Japan are a world reference for electronic devices of high-quality. These achievements had been possible because of a highly educated population.
Latin American countries have had struggled in this terrain. From the region, Chile is the best ranked in the PISA test, and even this country doesn’t appear in the first twenty spots.
The main problem of Education in Latin America is not quality; it’s relevance. Currently, most of the schools don’t offer a link between studies and the best-paid works in technologies of the information. Most Latin American coders have taught themselves or paid expensive programming classes.
Connect young people with techies jobs
Some governmental and non-governmental initiatives had worked to fix this problem. For example, the government of Jalisco has organized events like the Talent Land to attract young people in high-tech areas. Meanwhile, Microverse offers online classes without tuition fees for Latin American programmers with knowledge in English.
Internships are also a great way to connect young people with the tech ecosystem. This kind of program allows recently graduated people to know the working process of IT companies and permit them to get a job quickly in their area of interest.
Countries like Brazil had developed Internship programs. But initiatives are not always successful. In the last year, the Mexican government launched “Jóvenes construyendo un Futuro,” a plan for helping young people to find a job in his area. But these initiatives received a lot of critics because of the lack of pertinence with the studies areas of the youngest people.
IT companies have given more extensive options to recent graduates for Internships, even with the opportunity to be hired later.
Building data-driven companies
Manufacturing companies have found that Latin American countries are a cheap place for work labor. This situation had brought some advantages to the region. International companies have selected countries like Mexico or Brazil to manufacturer their products. However, this advantage has also played against the region. Work labor is so cheap that Latin American companies don’t need to invest in new technology.
For a change in this situation, Latin America needs data-driven companies. It means companies that are guided by the data of the industry (consumption, costs, forecasts) and not just for the good feeling of an entrepreneur. This kind of company need highly educated workers that could drive them to make better decisions and to adopt the last technology available. And it also means better wages.
Feeding the Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) needs data, and people who know how to hand the data. Data-driven companies and well-prepared professionals can easily take the next level implementing AI solutions in the daily process of a company.
Implementation of AI can boost LatAm Gross Product Income at one point, according to IADB. Currently, this technology it’s linked with the high-tech industry, but in the next years, it will become an essential part of any industry.
In Latin America, AI has a high potential between industries like AgTech, FinTech, or Health.
Developing a 5G infrastructure
Before ending 2019, Huawei announced that the company has contracts for developing a 5G infrastructure in Latin American countries, mainly in Chile. 5G technology will be a crucial factor in boosting the potential of data generated in real-time and analyzed by AI at the moment.
Analysts consider that 5G plus AI will bring a revolution in any industry with a higher speed and with a major capacity of gadgets connected at the same time.
The Internet of Things should be everywhere.
Latin America needs 5G infrastructure for allowing the Internet of Things (IoT) in daily life. The IoT has the potential to convert Latin American cities in smart cities, improving public transport, water management, or health services.
In the industry, IoT can improve manufacturing lines and Agricole production. Devices will be able to send data and warn when a machine is at risk of failing or which is the best amount of water to use for crops.
In the next decade, IoT will also be in the daily life of Latin American people, since self-driven cars to voice assistants.
The threats for LatAm development
Many Latin American countries are betting on these technologies. Chile, Argentina, and Brazil have become examples of how policies can support the IT development of the region. At the same time, companies like Huawei, or capital investment firms like Softbank have put their money in LatAm. However, these actions couldn’t be enough, and the last year showed the threats of ignoring other Latin American problems.
For example, Argentina has been a country that has developed policies to level up its tech game. However, this year was a really bad year for the country. Investments in IT wasn’t enough to avoid a deep economic crisis.
In Chile, the crisis was social. The country was performing better than other Latin American countries, but the gap between poor people and rich ones caused the angry between the population that ended in a crowd showing its rage against the ruling class.
Technology can boost LatAm development, but only if it also helps to fight the social inequalities of the region.