The ‘Digital Revolution’ has led to dramatic expansion of the global economy, transformed the way we live and generated tremendous wealth—but only for some parts of the world.
Of the world’s 6 billion people, for example, just 1 billion have access to the internet. Speaking of this gap, James Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank, has called the digital divide “one of the greatest impediments to development today”.
Situation in Latin America
In Latin America, this exclusion has deepened existing social gaps and created castes of marginalized populations that are unable participate in society as self-governing, active citizens. As soldiers on the frontlines of the growing drug wars, underprivileged Latin youth have become the protagonists of issues of global concern such as the drug industry, immigration, and violence.
- Today nearly 40% of Latin Americans live below the poverty line.
- Quality education and healthcare are scarce; unemployment borders 20%.
- While estimates show that workers in the Knowledge Economy require 12 years of formal education, Latin Americans have only 6.
- Only 17% of the population in Latin America and the Caribbean have access to the internet (compared to 70% in the United States and Canada).
- In Brazil, the first Map of Digital Exclusion (published in 2002 by USAID, Sun Microsystems and business school Fundação Getúlio Vargas), revealed that just 12% of Brazilians owned computers and only 8% accessed the internet from home.
- Recent studies show that 79% of the Brazil’s 180 million people still have never accessed the internet and 54% have never used a computer.