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Contxto – The Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) and Oxford Insights have teamed up and published their first-ever GovTech Index.
By studying 28 indicators, they ranked 17 of CAF’s member countries from Latin America and Iberia by the robustness of their govtech ecosystems. The report’s three pillars were:
- Startups industry
- Government policies
- Procurement systems
Governments in Latin America are infamous for being bloated and clunky at solving problems. Sometimes they’ll do so through illicit means. Certainly, govtech can lend a hand—if only authorities, the overall culture of a country and the startup ecosystem allow for it. And that is just what this report set out to discover.
Spain and Portugal took first and second place respectively as having the best govtech ecosystems. But which were the top three ranking Latam countries?
Read on and find out.
For the report, the ease with which an entrepreneur can launch a business in Chile was a big factor. It also mentions the high digital skills of Chileans as another positive mark. Likewise, it has the tech infrastructure to further develop innovative solutions for the public sector.
This Latam country is also laudable for ChileCompra, an e-procurement system that’s added transparency and accountability for transactions between public officials and businesses.
Although it’s recommended that the Chilean government dedicate more resources to measuring the impact of its open data policies. The report also calls for a national strategy that addresses govtech.
Lastly, if we factor in that Chile has the lowest levels of corruption in Latin America, that makes it the country that’s best poised to lead in govtech.
The largest Latin American country is also home to the largest number of govtechs in the region. Moreover, there are plenty of venture capital (VC) firms in Brazil. The only issue is there are no specific funds for govtech.
On another positive note, the government has shown openness to digitize as many of its operations as possible.
However, the biggest setback for Brazil is its ongoing crisis of trust between the government and its citizens. Multiple corruption scandals in recent years have deteriorated their ties and may take time to rebuild.
According to the study, Mexico has its fair share of govtechs. Likewise, its citizenry has a hands-on approach when it comes to solving public problems. The problem is a lot of suspicion and mistrust is often directed towards the public sector.
Moreover, there’s a lack of an all-encompassing federal strategy that promotes govtechs. Instead, often local governments will act and launch their own initiatives at will. Lastly, the low number of contracts the government awards startups isn’t promising.
If you want to read the full report, you’ll find it here.
Related articles: Tech and startups from Chile!