police officer smart phone NORBERTO DUARTE/AFP/Getty Images

The GovTech Latin America Needs

As Latin American governments pursue a much-needed digital transformation, they should encourage and facilitate entrepreneurship in govtech, which covers innovations that focus on boosting the public sector's efficiency. This will require action on at least three fronts.

BOGOTÁ – As the digital revolution continues to hurtle forward in the advanced economies, Latin America is increasingly at risk of being left behind. To avoid this outcome, the region must find ways to seize the opportunities that new technologies create for business, research, and – perhaps most urgent – public administration.

It is no accident that the world’s most competitive economies – from the United States and the United Kingdom to South Korea, Singapore, and Israel – have the most modern, innovative, and efficient systems of public administration. Recognizing the profound far-reaching benefits they have reaped from their strong institutional arrangements, these countries have worked actively to ensure the continued upgrading of their public sectors.

In particular, these countries have promoted entrepreneurship in so-called govtech, nurturing innovations by small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) and tech-based, data-driven startups that are focused on boosting the efficiency of public administration. These entrepreneurs create scalable business models that respond to the demand for the development and application of new technologies and innovative solutions for the public sector.

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