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Towards a ministry of ICT

By Ginés Alarcón — November 10, 2014

Within its challenge of reducing poverty, Colombia has found the perfect ally in the form of new technologies

As part of the 1st Digital Customer Forum that took place in Bogotá (Colombia), this week I had the chance to meet with Colombia’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Diego Molano. It has been inspiring to share his vision on the importance of the Internet on the progress of nations.

Within its challenge of reducing poverty, Colombia has found the perfect ally in the form of new technologies. One of the focuses was education, so children in underprivileged areas may have the same access to knowledge as the fortunate residents south of Bogotá.

The International Telecommunications Union and the Mobile World Congress, among others, have already acknowledged Colombia’s regional and global leadership. Would it have been possible to achieve such clear results without a Ministry of ICT?

Spain was a pioneer in establishing a similar ministry. In 2000, Aznar decided to create the Ministry of Science and Technology, which included industrial matters. Anna Birulés, Josep Piqué and Juan Costa held the corresponding positions. Zapatero reestablished the Ministry of Industry, and during his second term created the Ministry of Science and Innovation, led by Cristina Garmendia, while in Rajoy’s government, these areas are distributed between the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Industry.

The Europe 2020 strategy proposes smart, sustainable, and integrative growth, and one of the objectives is for R&D investments to reach 3% of the GDP. In Spain, this percentage is 1.3%, with a 7% drop since the crisis began.

Although various indicators show that Spain’s recovery is becoming a reality, our future remains up in the air. Innovation, entrepreneurship, industrialization, education, professional training, and the democratization of knowledge are recurring themes in political, social, and business areas. ICT happens to play an essential role in order for these areas to attain sustainable long-term development.

Now is the time to consolidate all the areas in a single ministry in order for strategies, policies, and action plans to be integrated. The social and economic transformations driven by technological advances are changing our lives and creating global challenges and opportunities that must be taken advantage of.

Expansión, November 7, 2014

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