U.S. Support for Digital Transformation in Latin America and the Caribbean

KEY POINTS

  • As countries, companies, and citizens across Latin America and the Caribbean turn to digital communications to plan and build their networks of the future, including 5G, the United States is working closely with partners throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to promote digital-driven growth and realize the region’s tremendous potential, while promoting security, privacy, and inclusion.
  • Under the Growth in the Americas/America Crece initiative, United States technical expertise and targeted funding drive digital transformation in the Western Hemisphere, including through $10 million announced in January 2020 under the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP). America Crece is a U.S. initiative that catalyzes private sector investment in energy and other infrastructure, including telecommunications, in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The DCCP is a whole of U.S. government effort to promote expanded connectivity and promote an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure internet.

DRIVING DIGITAL INCLUSION

  • USAID recently released its first-ever Digital Strategy, charting an Agency-wide vision for development and humanitarian assistance in the world’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. The Strategy sets a path to equip staff, empower partners, and shape effective programming that supports partners to become self-reliant to lead their own development journeys. In the Western Hemisphere, USAID is leveraging digital tools to advance digital connectivity, promote digital skills training, and increasing access to digital financial services.
  • The International Development Finance Corporation is financing a major telecommunications project in Ecuador and Peru that will deploy at least 500 telecom towers and expand access to 4G mobile broadband, making high-speed Internet more widely available and reliable, and adding coverage in rural areas.
  • In October, the United States and Brazil strengthened cooperation on promoting development in the information and communications technology sector with a special focus on 5G technologies. The U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) and the Brazilian Ministry of Economy signed a memorandum of understanding to deploy up to $1 billion in financing to support U.S. exports to Brazil in the 5G space and other sectors.
  • Under the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF), the United States partnered with Taiwan and Japan to hold a virtual webinar with Latin American and Caribbean governments on digitization. Organized in partnership with Guatemala, the workshop focused on ways to leverage data and artificial intelligence to help governments respond to COVID-19 and brought together over 200 participants from 25 countries.
  • Public diplomacy programs empower diverse young leaders and women to connect using digital tools. The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Network is a dynamic online community of nearly 50,000 entrepreneurial young leaders across the region, featuring resources and networking opportunities to develop leadership skills, improve organizations and create positive community change. Campaigns in 2020 focused on financial literacy, business resilience, and ethical leadership. The Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) supports women entrepreneurs to start and scale successful businesses through a facilitated entrepreneurship program supplemented with localized content, as well as networking and mentorship opportunities.
  • Over the next year, the U.S. Trade & Development Agency will release a series of Project Resource Guides featuring key Latin America and Caribbean project opportunities in the Information Communications Technology sector, as well as execute a ten-part Digital Connectivity Workshop Training Series for Central America.

ADVANCING AN OPEN, INTEROPERABLE, RELIABLE, AND SECURE INTERNET

  • Through the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP), the United States is providing training and capacity building in the region, with partners like the U.S. Telecommunications Training Institute and the Federal Communications Commission. This training and technical assistance promotes the growth and expansion of open, interoperable, reliable and secure communications networks, encourages the adoption of digital trade and ICT policies that support long-term, sustainable growth and promote private sector investment.
  • The Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program assembles legal experts to provide best practice guides, conferences, and bilateral technical assistance on a range of DCCP topics, to include spectrum auctions, telecom regulation, procurement, open architecture networks, and telecommunications legislation.
  • USAID’s Promoting American Approaches to ICT Policy and Regulation (ProICT) is providing dedicated policy support in the form of technical assistance, embedded experts, capacity-building, and trainings.
  • Through the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, the Export-Import Bank and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, DCCP offers a number of tools to support project finance and provide loan guarantees.

ENHANCING CYBERSECURITY

  • The U.S. government provides or facilitates a wide range of cyber-related capacity building programs for partner countries in the Western Hemisphere, including under the DCCP. Examples include training on cybersecurity best practices provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), technical assistance, training and information sharing through the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), military-to-military engagement, law enforcement training on combating cybercrime, and joint efforts to promote international security and stability in cyberspace through bilateral and regional cooperation.
  • The State Department supports two DOJ International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Advisors (ICHIPS) based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Panama City, Panama, to strengthen international cooperation and deliver law enforcement training and technical assistance to combat cybercrime and related intellectual property theft. An example of this assistance was a December 2019 regional cyber security and cybercrime workshop held in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Cybercrime courses are also offered through the Department-supported International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in San Salvador, El Salvador.
  • Through the Organization of American States (OAS) Inter-American Committee against Terrorism, the United States has supported and provided expert speakers to strengthen policy and technical capacity in the region, supported the development and implementation of national cyber strategies, and supported the regional implementation of cyber confidence-building measures.  The United States funds regional cybercrime training workshops delivered by the Department of Legal Cooperation of the OAS Meetings of Ministers of Justice or Other Ministers or Attorneys General of the Americas (REMJA).
  • The State Department hosted a seminar in September on cybersecurity in Panama’s electricity sector to ensure a secure, reliable, and resilient electricity grid.