Diego Molano Vega is the Minister of Information and Communication Technologies in Colombia. A member of numerous international business organizations, Minister Molano was founder and President of the Association of Telecommunications Regulators in Latin America (Regulatel).
Diego Molano Vega is an Electronic Engineer with a Masters degree in economics both from Javeriana University. He also holds a Masters in Business from the Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The government is stimulating the digital ecosystem of Colombia in order to create a virtuous circle where the supply of infrastructure and services is encouraged and stimulated by demand from applications and users. The challenge is to generate applications and solutions that meet the needs of local industry. Meeting that challenge will help to reduce poverty, create more opportunities and achieve democratic prosperity.
The government of President Juan Manuel Santos is working so that technology becomes an effective tool to reduce poverty, generate employment and improve the competitiveness of Colombia.
The technological leap encapsulated in the Plan for Digital involves expanding the use of the Internet. We are therefore stimulating the digital ecosystem of Colombia in order to create a virtuous circle where the supply of infrastructure and services is encouraged and stimulated by demand from applications and users.
As a state our role is to facilitate conditions for the development of infrastructure such as the deployment of modern information highways using fiber optics, allocation of spectrum and increased international connectivity. We have also eliminated barriers to service delivery by the elimination of taxes and overcrowded terminals.
Colombia seeks to develop applications that meet the needs of the domestic market with the goal of becoming the Latin American production center for applications and content. We also hope to maintain our leadership in online government in the region, and today we have procedures and services that enable easier and more transparent relationship between citizens and state.
Finally, we are making progress in training Colombians who seek to use technology to become more productive. We already have a system of protection for users that safeguards the rights and guarantees of citizens.
For this Plan, the central government will invest about 5.5 billion pesos. We expect private firms to provide four times more funding through a bidding process that will be open to public-private partnerships developed through various initiatives.
The use of technology to equalize opportunities and close the digital divide between citizens and the corporate market, as well as users of higher socioeconomic classes living in large cities, is already in place. Such users now have the same level of service inhabitants would expect to receive in any major world capital.
Our challenge now is to reach the residential market and specifically the base of the pyramid where there are more than 39 million people, or 88 percent of the population. To reach these Colombians and encourage Internet use we have to develop applications that meet local needs.
Recent studies have identified that people and businesses do not use the Internet in Colombia because they do not find it useful. Some 96.4 percent of the Colombian industry is small businesses of which only ten percent use the Internet because applications and technological solutions do not meet their local needs.
The great business opportunity in Colombia, therefore, is to generate applications and solutions that meet the needs of people and local industry.
Solutions offered by cloud computing are attractive and interesting to the Colombian market to the extent that they eliminate the investment barrier for infrastructure. Features such as portability, scalability and collaborative environments, will provide residential and business users with great opportunities for efficient use of resources and increasing productivity.
The cloud may be used by the Colombian state to create a technology platform that can be shared by different government agencies to standardize services such as email, databases and storage. Similarly, it could allow better use of public resources by avoiding multiple contracts for various technology platforms that frequently do not talk to each other.
The ability to create shared resources and deliver availability tailored to the needs of different entities make cloud computing an effective option for the development of e-government. It will enhance the intelligence of e-government, allowing citizens and the state to share information in a more transparent and efficient fashion.
The cloud will also assist in improving the quality of education by providing a technology platform that enables friendly interaction between professors and students whilst monitoring the educational process.
In a country like Colombia with an agrarian economy, cloud applications are expected to empower small farmers in the field through mobile devices by providing price information on agricultural products.
Cloud computing may then be an excellent partner for Colombians in the collective effort we have started to take a technological leap in the government of President Santos, in order to reduce poverty, create more opportunities and achieve democratic prosperity.